The sad news today of the death of polymath Alan Saunders gave me thought about the way he actually became part of the national broadcaster’s family.I knew, I was there.
A panel had been brought together to choose a new broadcaster for the Science unit and the four of us who came together for this rather trying day of interviews were all good friends and we all were part of the “cynical” crowd in Radio National so we were very wary about the why and hows of the selection process.And this was reinforced when we were given a stern lecture by Robyn Williams before the interviewinq process about the young PHd grad he had met in Oxford, who he described as “very very talented” and then he said that as far as he was concerned he would be the only candidate we should choose.
Well, red rags to a bull, it made us more cautious about this genius as we were very unsure about the fact that the ABC had actually brought him out to be interviewed (even then a costly process).We actually finished the process by choosing a talented geneticist from Melbourne, thumbing our nose at Robyn and his lecture.However, Alan was our second choice and became a firm favourite after we discovered that the first candidate had already been offered a plum job by TV.So, we reconvened and chose Alan and, as they say in radio, the rest is history. Robyn was right, he was the finest polymath on radio and he will be sorely missed , sadly along with the three other incredibly talented panelists who, also, are no longer with us….


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