From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

New Washington corro for The Fin. Congratulations to Fairfax rising star John Kehoe for scoring one of the plummest postings in the Australian media. Kehoe will soon be appointed The Australian Financial Review’s US correspondent, replacing Ben Potter in Washington. Kehoe’s shift Stateside will allow the former Treasury analyst and Triple M sports broadcaster to indulge his love of the National Basketball League.

Sattler shafted … again. Sad news for Liberal Party members in Perth who stumped up $35 to have tea and bickies with sacked 6PR radio announcer Howard Sattler in July. Crikey hears the organisers quickly pulled Sattler from the event last week after he quizzed the Prime Minister on whether her hairdresser partner Tim Mathieson is gay.

Fairfax has scored applause for its decision to dismiss Sattler, who has a history of making outrageous comments. One well-placed source claims his latest gaffe was the final straw, and that management may have been angling to axe him for over a year because of listener complaints about his at times erratic on-air performances. Sattler is far from the Perth Alan Jones or Neil Mitchell: his drivetime show finished a poor sixth in the most recent ratings, dropping 1.1 points in audience share. Our insider reckons:

“After the complaints Sattler announced that he had suffered from a stroke so management were more worried about the backlash involved if they sacked a recovering stroke victim than the performance of the radio show. This latest Sattler scandal gives Fairfax the perfect excuse to get rid of him without any backlash at all — in fact they look like they are doing the right thing for once.”

Next steps for army feminist hero? Canberra journos were quick to proclaim Lieutenant General David Morrison the most likely to success General David Hurley as Chief of the Defence Force after his redoubtable performance handling the latest ADF s-x scandal. But if he does, that’s going to ruffle all kinds of feathers in the ADF brass. Convention says the next CDF should rotate to navy, which hasn’t held the top rank since admiral Chris Barrie’s departure in 2002. Some senior officers are already complaining that generals are behaving too much like politicians, and if the convention is thrown out, the top brass’ independence may be thrown out too.

View from the top. “King Kong, King Kong, he’s very very big and he’s very very strong”; so ran one of the lines from the new musical, which premiered in Melbourne’s Regent Theatre on Saturday night. And it wasn’t just the enormous puppet Kong who dazzled with his height — former Victorian premier Ted Baillieu and entertainer Rhonda Burchmore (dressed in a fantastic burnt orange frock) turned heads when they chatted together at the after-party. The tall pair towered over the hundreds of well-dressed partygoers swilling the free champagne (Geoffrey Rush stuck to red wine). But there was no monkey business between the glamazons — Ted’s wife Robyn was also part of the conversation.

In other Kong party goss, actress Magda Szubanski (who is not Kong-like in height) was joking about having difficulty moving through the throng, while ex-Victorian royalty and aspiring model Nick Bracks was looking suave, and radio personality Kate Langbroek dazzled in a shiny emerald outfit. One person seemed to be missing however — where was Eddie McGuire? It’s not like him to miss a red carpet even in Melbourne …

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Peter Fray

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