Radio History


33 years ago today… 1 January 1986, Beautiful Music 3AK was gone and from 7.00am “The New 3AK Is Born”

The first song of the “new” 3AK was Freeway Of Love by Aretha Franklin but the listeners fled and 3AK went from a rating of 10.4 (Survey 4/85) to 3.4 (Survey 1/86).

“The New 3AK” lasted barely six months before it was reborn again as “CBC” – networked talkback with 2UE. The ratings fell even further!



Within 2 weeks of 3AK dumping the Easy Listening format, 3MP picked up the format, which resulted in their ratings taking a big jump. This was probably one of the biggest blunders in Melbourne radio history.


The CBC logo there is also made up of 6PM - do you know what involvement that station had if at all?


Before 1986 3MP’s ratings were a big stagnant and music-wise it was sort of just cruising along with a hits-and-memories type format that was already being done much better by 3KZ. 3AK dumping Beautiful Music saw this perfect opportunity land on 3MP’s lap and they boldly went with it.

I don’t know. I gather 6PM was part of the “network” only by ownership as I think Packer owned it as well as 2UE & 3AK, but IIRC 6PM was still a music station and rating well despite the growth in FM popularity. Not aware that it had any of the networked programming from 2UE/3AK.


CBC was Consllidated Broadcasting Corporation (or company), which I believe was essentially a holding company for all of Packer’s radio asserts once he acquired the Lamb family radio stations.

There’s an obvious connection with Consolidated Press Holdings which held all of the Packer magazine titles.

While CBC was used as on-air branding for the talkback format it was also the owner of 6PM.


Who is the voice talent of the news intro? And for the music positioner promo after the news?

Not a fan of them with their classic hits period, Nowra Power much better then but they did play Darryl’s song, so a small redeeming feature!


I didn’t discover i98 until 1994, by which time the station had morphed into a Hot AC with Maroon and Milly as mentioned. Maroon actually lived next door to my Aunt during this period so I got to meet him one day! I told him I listened from Sydney and he was impressed by that.


When was the first survey after converting to FM?

What gets me is that 2WL didn’t decide to keep their brand that was #1 upon conversion.

Effectively, 2WL vanished and the audience had no idea what was their station.

What was the exact site? There’s a whole thread in former TX sites.

You’re likely on the money, there’s not much about Rod online, save for a Radio Today comment about greatest newsreaders where he’s mentioned as reading news at 2WS at night in the early 90’s.

Very strange idea to format swap instead of block them. 2WL/Wave had the upper hand, why change?


Unsure whether there was a survey held in late 1992, but there was a survey held in March 1993, in which i98 narrowly won over Wave FM by 0.2%.

The shares were as follows:

i98: 25.4
Wave: 25.2
Power: 15.2
ABC Illawarra: 4.4

i98: 33.2
Wave: 27.7
Power: 14.9
ABC Illawarra: 1.7

Wave: 27.8
i98: 24.7
Power: 13.2
ABC Illawarra: 6.0

5 months later in August, Wave was back on top & i98 took a tumble in the ratings.

The results were:

Wave: 25.4 (+0.2)
i98: 18.9 (-6.5)
Power: 12.6 (-2.6)
ABC Illawarra: 3.7 (-0.7)

Wave: 29.1 (+1.4)
i98: 21.3 (-11.9)
Power: 18.8 (+3.9)
ABC Illawarra: 3.8 (+2.1)

Wave: 27.9 (+0.1)
i98: 20.9 (-3.8)
Power: 10.5 (-2.7)
ABC Illawarra: 4.9 (-1.1)

With the above August 1993 figures being particularly bad for i98, I think that’s what triggered them to change their music format to essentially what it has become today.


I won the quickie on i98 in 1994 or 95 or so on the breakfast show. It was Another women by Ray Parker jnr. Got 150 dollars it was a WIN cheque.


They call wave fm and 2wl at the same time for about a year? . I cant remember the exact call sign it was mouth full. I am not a fan of changing stations name when converting to fm. Id rather 2OO, 2WL, 2UW, 2WS etc


It was known on-air as “2WL 96.5 Wave FM”.


Ah yes, I remember the morning quickie. Would you get away with that name these days? And who remembers The Bacon Boys from Power 949?


You know you’re a radio groupie when…

  • You listen to a station until it is well out of reach, but still somewhat audible

  • You’re in the dentist’s office, they have the local AC station on, you not only know, who owns the stations, you know where the studios, towers are located, when it was sold, and what format it was before AC

  • You change the station every time the DJ stops talking and the music starts.

  • You know the EXACT time and date a radio station went off the air because of lightning and sat through 3 hours of dead air to listen for it to sign back on!

  • You judge the quality of your vacations on how good the radio was in the city you visited.

  • The tuning arrows on your car stereo are worn off.

  • You know just the right spot to park your car to pull in that distant station.

  • You flip between stations that are simulcasting just to hear the different commercials.

  • You have a radio station “sticker” collection - which you’re proud of.

  • You visit radio stations to get some bumper stickers, and take a whole handful.

  • You are at a red light and the car next to you is blasting out some music and you tune around to find what station they are listening to

  • You have recordings of all the live calls you’ve made to radio stations.

  • You got mad when your mother threw out an original 1983 MMM t-shirt because it "got too small".

  • When you drive dangerously close to the car ahead just to look at the stickers in his rear window.

  • You go to a radio station website that has a studio webcam, and save the pics so that you can stare at them offline.

From January 2003, there’s more “You know you are an ageing DJ when” on Radio Info’s website


I got a vague memory of that :slight_smile:.


and around the same time 3UZ changed its format from classic hits (mUZic) to a full country music format. It lasted just less than two years before the Victorian racing industry bought the station and took the racing broadcasts away from 3DB.


I never knew this…

It was May in 1979 and 2SM had several issues that were damaging its previously unassailable image:

  • 2WS had started broadcasting with a slick new format
  • Ian Lan was about to leave 5KA to join 2UW (as Station Manager) where he moved the station towards a hit format and “The New 2UW” increased its ratings to become the No.2 station (behind 2UE) in 1980 and 1981.
  • Commercial FM radio was about to begin in 1980

2SM became the first commercial FM broadcaster in Sydney - if only for 25 minutes - when it became 2SM FM. Mind you the transmission could only be heard for a few blocks around the Milsons Point studio.

Gotta love the Sydney Morning Herald archives.


Who owned 3UZ at this point to shift it to country?

Packer owned these stations yet working for him were total idiots to dump a successful format and take the plunge to the unknown, thinking it would earn them better revenue, plus allowing competitors to use their then current format.

Is that the situation in a nutshell?

Just who were the execs working for Packer in radio that organised this at 3AK?

It’s akin to Lang and co at MRN with the knobbling of 2UE, lack of relevance for 2CH pre sale, introduction of TLS and MSR plus the one string game of talent at AW and GB being the only profit generators with no decent back up plan.


Awesome article, wonder what frequency it was :). 2SM FM… I like it. Nice ring.


In 1985 3UZ was bought by Examiner Northern Tasmania (ENT) Ltd, which owned TNT9 and 7EX in for $9.2M from the Nilsen family. In 1984 the Nilsen’s sold off 3HA to ACE, as part of their gradual exit from radio. Not sure when ENT sold off the Examiner newspaper to Fairfax. Oliver Nilsen founded the station in 1925 and was the former Lord Mayor of Melbourne. As noted above, it was subsequently sold to Victorian racing bodies (eg Harness Racing Board).