News UK chief operating officer David Dinsmore has said that the acquisition of Talksport owner Wireless Group will put The Sun on a more secure financial footing.
And he said the company will be more successful this time, than its previous foray into radio with the internet-only SunTalk station which closed after 18 months in 2010.
It adds Talksport to the publisher’s UK portfolio as well as Talkradio and Virgin Radio. Wireless Group also owns free weekly magazine Sport.
Dinsmore told Press Gazette: “Radio always felt to us to be a natural extension of what we do.
“There’s a fair number of Sun journalists already appearing on Talksport on an ad hoc basis and we spend quite a lot of money with Talksport on marketing The Sun.”
Asked why The Sun was moving back into radio after the failure of SunTalk, Dinsmore said: “It was ahead of its time.” And he noted that SunTalk closed before widespread use of apps and smartphones to access media.
He said: “We did get about 3,000 people listening every morning to a couple of hours of people talking about what was in The Sun that day…
“The world has completely changed since then and the way in which people consume radio has changed.”
Talksport estimates that around 20 per cent of its 3.3m weekly listeners already read The Sun.
Asked why News UK was investing in radio, rather than video (which is where much of the growth in media consumption in recent years has been) Dinsmore said that The Sun was investing in video as well.
He added: “Radio provides really stable and resilient audiences, and stable and resilient revenue streams. It’s withstood a hell of a lot in 100 years. Every innovation has been thrown at it and it keeps coming back for more.
“I think one of the reasons for that is that its a secondary medium which you can put on in the background unlike TV and video.”
Asked how the Wireless Group purchase fits in with the business model of The Sun, which has been free online since last November, he said: “We have Sun Bets, Sun Bingo, digital advertising revenue – it has to be a range of revenue streams. Then we are adding on a radio revenue stream as well. We are making a more compelling proposition for advertisers.
“If you’d ask me these questions five years ago we would just be talking about the newspaper.”