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Ian Burrell

Ian Burrell edits the Media Weekly pages of The Independent.

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The new voice of The Sun

Posted by Ian Burrell
  • Friday, 17 April 2009 at 05:15 pm
Asked if he will be getting Rebekah Wade to take part in his new “interactive online audio service” SunTalk, Jon Gaunt is uniequivocal. “She’s not an entertainer, what would she be coming on for? That’s not her role.” Harsh, given how well Rebekah went down when delivering the Cudlipp Lecture recently.

 

 

But this News International venture deserves to be taken very seriously. Because though The Sun’s editor might not be directly taking part, many of its key staff will be. Political journalists Trevor Kavanagh and George Pascoe-Watson, showbiz expert Gordon Smart, television pundits Ally Ross and Sara Nathan, agony aunt Dierdre Saunders and motoring editor Ken Gibson will all be contributing to the output, their comments then being made available on iTunes as podcasts.

 

Wapping is moving into broadcasting in a big way. The right-wing and outspoken “Gaunty” – who dreamt up the idea with deputy editor Dominic Mohan - will be hosting his colleagues and other guests (starting with David Cameron) five days a week from 10am-1pm. Because it's a mixed media proposition it is regulated by the Press Complaints Commission, rather than Ofcom, the broadcast regulator, which means that it can be more opinionated and more on brand (something which is being overseen by former features supremo Chris Stevens). For the stricken commercial radio sector this represents more serious competition, although the venture is set to be financed through sponsorship rather than advertising.

 

The radio facilities offer opportunities for other News International titles to move into broadcasting (Phill Jupitus already makes a podcast for The Times, for example). Wapping now also hosts three television studios and a Millbank-style remote studio linked to James Murdoch’s other fiefdom, BSkyB. Journalists from The Sun, News of the World, The Sunday Times and The Times can be rounded up to give instant reaction to Sky News or Sky Sports News, providing excellent cross promotion opportunities.

 

It’s another reminder, as if we needed it, of the scale of the Murdoch ambition.

 

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