RN’s Alan Saunders’ death unexpected

Prominent ABC Radio National presenter Alan Saunders has passed away unexpectedly this morning. While working on his program The Philosopher’s Zone yesterday afternoon, Alan fell ill and was taken to hospital where his condition deteriorated overnight. He died this morning surrounded by colleagues and friends.

“In his 25 years with Radio National, Alan made a substantial contribution to the intellectual discourse in Australia and certainly to the enjoyment of his audiences,” Director Radio Kate Dundas said today.


“He had both a distinctive voice and a distinguished mind – a great combination for a presenter of engaging and thought provoking radio,” she said.

Alan Saunders joined Radio National in 1987 and presented The Food Program, Screen, By Design and most recently The Philosopher’s Zone. His programs have always been popular with audiences, with The Philosopher’s Zone one of RN’s most frequently downloaded programs. 

An award winning journalist, Alan received the Pascall Prize for Critical Writing and Broadcasting in 1992 and the Australasian Association of Philosophy’s Special Media Prize in 2007. He is also the author of A is for Apple and Alanna, and holds a PHD in history from the Australian National University.

“Alan Saunders had an extraordinary mind, he was equally at home talking about Plato, the role of vampires in popular culture or the history of the restaurant,” Acting Station Manager Amanda Armstrong said.

“He wrote like an angel, and had a deep knowledge of music among many other areas including philosophy, gastronomy, architecture, design and film.” 

Managing Director Mark Scott expressed his sadness at the passing of Alan Saunders today. 

“Alan embodied Radio National’s commitment to intelligent, specialist broadcasting. He was a trusted, authoritative voice for so many years. We will miss him as will his many listeners from all around Australia.”

This Sunday at 5.30pm The Philosopher’s Zone will air the final part of Alan Saunders’ Thinking Out Loud series with Stathis Gourgouris, Professor of Classics at Columbia University.