16/12/2011 07:03 GMT | Updated 16/12/2011 11:27 GMT

Comedy Podcast 'The Bugle' Pulled By The Times

Bad news for fans of the satirical comedy podcast The Bugle - its paymaster The Times has pulled the plug.

John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman's weekly "audio newspaper for a visual world", which started in October 2007, announced its (at least temporary) demise in a tweet this week which read: "BUGLE NEWS ALERT: The Bugle will be leaving Times Online in the near future. We will do everything we can to keep The Bugle going...".

It then pointed fans to a Facebook page where it's conducting a poll on whether listeners are now prepared to pay to listen to the podcast (currently winning is "Yes - I would happily/grudgingly fork out 30 British pence or 50 American cents. Or £10/$15 a year") - and says: "If we do end up using a pay model, we'd make sure it was easily accessible on as many platforms as possible, and reasonably priced."

The New York Times notes that the podcast "ruthlessly mocked [The Times]' corporate owners over the phone hacking scandal at News Corporation" and "directed withering comic barbs at Mr. Murdoch and other top executives at the company".

But The Bugle denies this was the reason it was pulled. "In response to your queries, I think Times Online pulling the plug had nothing to do with our phone hack coverage," it tweeted, "more that it's a tough time for newspapers and The Bugle costs them without bringing in any revenue. They've been very good to us."

So it seems that, for now at least, Zaltzman is sticking to his word. "Last show possibly this week, but hopefully mid-January," he told The New York Times. "No lash-out plans. Yet."