Online sport publisher TEAMtalk is making a move into mainstream radio with the purchase of an 80 per cent stake in Radio Tara, which owns Atlantic 252. Over the coming months, the station will change its music-based format and will eventually emerge as TEAMtalk 252, delivering sports information. "When the station is launched we will have a national radio presence that will enable TEAMtalk’s sports content to be broadcast over mainstream media and I am looking forward to driving the new format in the UK marketplace," says TEAMtalk chairman and chief executive Bill Wilson. The move into UK radio comes three months after the appointment of former BBC Midlands Today sports editor Mark Chesworth as TEAMtalk’s managing editor. Meanwhile, rival sport site Clubcall (www.clubcall.com) has closed its website and will focus on its premium-rate phone lines
Watch out for a host of competitors to the popular FriendsReunited service (www.friendsreunited.co.uk) with the launch of FriendsLocator (www.friendslocator.co.uk). Of course, FriendsReunited itself was a UK version of the massive US site Classmates (www.classmates.com) that helps put old school friends back in touch with each other. FriendsLocator plans to launch a service to help former work colleagues locate each other. Maybe someone should do one for those working in the media?
A bold attempt at charging is planned by e-mail provider Another.com, which says more than six million addresses have been created by its 1.7 million users and that now is a good time to look at ways to charge users. "We’ve got a critical mass of users, now we’re going to prove that they will pay for it," says chief executive Steve Bowbrick. From the end of next month, new users will be asked to pay. It will certainly be interesting to see how people react. A few years back, a US service called iName offered a wide variety of names and started to charge for value-added services but in the end it went back to leaving it all free. The market is much more mature now, which Another.com hopes is a plus. Users may also be willing to pay if they feel they get a better service. Over the past few months, I’ve heard countless stories of people trying to get customer service from market leader Hotmail, but as it is free, they have not been able to resolve their problems. What are your feelings on web-based e-mail? What would you pay for it? Send me your views.