By John Plunkett and Mark Sweney: The Sun has pulled the plug on its Jon Gaunt-fronted internet radio show SunTalk after just over a year.
SunTalk, which began broadcasting in April last year, styled itself as “the home of free speech” and aired every weekday for three hours a day.
A message on the SunTalk homepage, after today’s final edition, said: “SunTalk is no longer live … Thank you for listening over the last 18 months. Please continue to enjoy our podcasts.”
The closure comes two days after Gaunt lost his legal battle with the media regulator Ofcom over an on-air exchange in November 2008 while he was still a presenter with the national speech station TalkSport. Gaunt was censured by the regulator after calling a local councillor a “Nazi”. SunTalk’s closure is said to be unrelated to the case.
The station was available online via the Sun website and broadcast on FM to the expatriate community in parts of Spain.
News International management were considering extending the station’s reach by launching it nationally on DAB digital radio. But it is understood they baulked at the extra cost.
A News International spokesman said: “News International can confirm that SunTalk has closed. This was a business decision taken as part of an ongoing review of costs and strategy to focus on core operations.”
Insiders said SunTalk was not part of News International’s core business and its costs could not be justified with budget cuts going on elsewhere in the organisation. SunTalk employed Gaunt and two other staff on freelance contracts.
News International is in the process of cutting about 80 editorial jobs on the Sun’s sister titles the Times and Sunday Times.
This article originally appeared in Â© Guardian News & Media Ltd..