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News International pulls plug on SunTalk

By Dominic Ponsford

The Sun today pulled the plug on its daily internet radio show SunTalk a year and a half after it was launched.

The move comes two days after SunTalk presenter Jon Gaunt lost his High Court challenge against an Ofcom ruling which upheld a complaint against him from his time as a broadcaster on Talksport.

It also comes after The Guardian reported that The Sun was set to take SunTalk on to a digital radio platform. News International sources had dismissed that story as “speculation”.

SunTalk was broadcast from a new £1m studio at News International’s Wapping headquarters and went out five days a week from 10am to 1pm, launching in March 2009.

Billed as the “home of free speech”, SunTalk was not constrained by the Ofcom code but instead came under the Press Complaints Commission which does not make rulings on impartiality or on matters of taste and offensiveness.

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.”

The move comes as News International is in the midst of a major cost cutting programme with around 80 editorial jobs going at The Times and Sunday Times.

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In a message to listeners of SunTalk, the website currently states “SunTalk is no longer live … Thank you for listening over the last 18 months. Please continue to enjoy our podcasts.”

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