McConnell dubbed it the “party line for planet Earth,” and he envisions the service becoming a tool for multiple uses. “I could see this being used for organizing, for clubs to share agenda information and scheduling, for discussions when not everybody can attend – so many things,” said McConnell, who lives in San Francisco. “It’s perfect as an educational tool. For example, someone could host a drive-time Spanish class and students can call in while driving and participate live. “It’s the virtual classroom,” he added. McConnell said the service can be used in any live event setting, where all people have to do is call in on their cell phones and broadcast sporting events or conferences onto the Internet or to other people’s phones. McConnell and Augenstine can offer the service for free by selling advertising and selling upgrades in services, and because the infrastructure needed involved very low investment costs. “We work as a link, the gateway between the public switch telephone network, your regular phone company, and the Internet,” Augenstine said. “We provide the rendezvous points to share and integrate these various messaging technologies.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Now small groups, clubs and even families can converse live simultaneously from up to 20 different locations around the world without the need for sophisticated or expensive equipment. And it’s all free. Radio Handi is a new service that ties together multiple modes of already-existing communication technology to enable members of groups to talk via live telecasts, conference calls, voice messaging boards, Internet, e-mail and SMS. “All for the cost of a local phone call in over 40 countries,” said Radio Handi co-founder Brian McConnell. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2“This involves no new technology here,” said fellow co-founder Jonathan Augenstine, who works out of his home in South Pasadena. “All the technology’s been around for a while, but a market opportunity has been created in the deployment of services not available previously. It allows – on a much smaller budget – to tie them in together.” To join, one group member must first visit the host’s Web site, www.radiohandi.com, and set up a six-digit group number, a process that takes about a minute, said McConnell. Users can then look up local access numbers for whatever foreign or domestic city is pertinent to make the connections to their group members. Once the set-up steps are complete, members can use any phone – landline or cellular – to call the local number, punch in the group’s identification number and immediately join the conversation.