3AW is a talkback radio station based in Melbourne. It is broadcast on 693 kHz AM. It began transmission on 22 February 1932 as Melbourne's fifth commercial radio station.

Broadcast areaMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
Slogan"Talking Melbourne"
"Melbourne's Own"
Frequency693 kHz
First air date22 February 1932
Transmitter coordinates37.7997°S 144.6147°E / -37.7997; 144.6147
Former frequencies1425 kHz (1932–1935)
1280 kHz (1935–1978)
1278 kHz (1978–2006)
AffiliationsNews. Talk. Sport
OwnerMacquarie Media
(Radio 3AW Melbourne Pty Ltd)
Sister stationsMacquarie Sports Radio
WebcastWindows Media

The station is owned and operated by Macquarie Radio Network.


3AW was created when a company formed by Allans, J.C. Williamson's and David Syme (then publishers of The Age newspaper) was granted a radio broadcasting licence,[1] with the first broadcast on 22 February 1932.[2] The "AW" in 3AW comes from the names of part-owners "Allans" and "J. C. Williamson".[3] 3AW's first studio was situated in His Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne (now Her Majesty’s Theatre).

3AW's original broadcast frequency was 1425 kHz and changed to 1280 kHz on 1 September 1935 as part of a national reshuffle of the radio broadcasting spectrum.[4] On 23 November 1978 the station changed to 1278 kHz with the introduction of 9 kHz spacing on the AM band. Due to poor reception problems, at 7:15 a.m. on 1 May 2006, 3AW swapped with its sister station Magic 1278 (now Macquarie Sports Radio) to its present frequency of 693 kHz.[5] The station's broadcast signal originates from a transmitter in Werribee.

3AW studios are located at Media House, 655 Collins Street, Docklands, in Melbourne and shares facilities with Magic 1278, Fairfax Digital, The Australian Financial Review and The Age newspaper.[6] The studios were previously located at Bank Street, South Melbourne from 1991 until March 2010.[7]

Technical innovations

In April 2007, 3AW introduced cameras into their main studio so that fans, via the 3AW website, can watch the program being broadcast, as well as listen.[8] The cameras do not operate during news services, commercial breaks, or outside broadcasts.

In August 2009, 3AW "went digital", offering a superior quality sound and other features, for those with digital receivers. Stations utilising the digital signal can also offer multi-channels and interactive features.[9] The digital format used in Australia is DAB+, reportedly a superior technology to other digital formats.[10]

In October 2011 (iPhone) and mid 2012 (Android), 3AW introduced an application (App) for smartphones or tablets. The application allows users to listen to the current program, read or listen to current news articles, get weather updates, contact the station via phone, email, Twitter or Facebook and also has an alarm clock feature.[11][12]

3AW Football (AFL)

'3AW Football' is the brand under which 3AW broadcasts Australian rules football and the station broadcasts football on all AFL match days.

3AW Football dates back to before 1960 and legendary commentators such as Norman Banks and Harry Beitzel have spent time calling games at 3AW. Rex Hunt called football at 3AW for 21 years before moving to rival Triple M in 2010.[13]

Matthew Lloyd and Dr Peter Larkins joined 3AW Football in 2012. The team for 2013 also had a number of changes,[14] Stephen Quartermain[15] called on weekends, alongside either Tim Lane or Tony Leonard and the expert commentators. Cameron Ling[15] has an expert commentary role interchangeably on Friday nights, Saturday afternoons and Sunday afternoons.

2014 saw the departure of Stephen Quartermain, now the chief newsreader at Network Ten Melbourne and the recruitment of Nathan Brown as a ball-by-ball commentator for Saturday night and Sunday twilight matches.[16]

Current 3AW Football team (2017)

Former 3AW Football team members

(not a complete list)

¹left at the end of 2013 season


On 1 November 2013, 3AW's parent company, Fairfax Radio Network (FRN), announced that it had signed a five-year non-exclusive contract commencing with the 2013/2014 Australian cricket season, to broadcast the Boxing Day and Sydney Test matches, all One Day Internationals, the Big Bash League (BBL) and International T20 matches on network stations including 3AW. Subsequently, in December 2013, FRN decided on an earlier start to their coverage by including the Perth test match which commenced on 13 December 2013.[17] Fairfax stated that "Fairfax Radio Network will bring to its coverage more than 60 years’ experience of broadcasting sport, assembling a star-studded commentary line up".[18] The coverage will provide a ball-by-ball commentary of all broadcast matches.[19]

The commentary team is anchored by Tim Lane and Bruce Eva, together with a panel consisting of the following experts[20]

Station ratings and market position

In the sixth ratings survey for 2014, released 30 September 2014, 3AW came first with a 13.8% market share followed by 774 ABC with 11.4% and Fox FM with 8.2%. In this survey 3AW won every timeslot.[21]

In the fifth ratings survey for 2014, released 26 August 2014, 3AW came first with a 14% market share followed by 774 ABC with 12% and Fox FM with 8.0%.[22]

In the fourth survey, 3AW lost its No. 1 station rating, scoring a 13.0% market share against 774 ABC's 13.4% share with Gold 104.3 FM third on 7.4%.[22]

In the first survey for 2014, released on 11 March 2014, 3AW was the No. 1 station scoring an 11.9% market share followed by 774 ABC's 10.6% share with Fox FM third on 8.5%.[23] This survey was also the first for new ratings supplier GfK Group, the company that has taken over the running of surveys from Nielsen ratings which produced the surveys for 66 years.[24]

The final ratings survey for 2013 and the last to be conducted by Nielsen,[24] saw 3AW complete five years as Melbourne’s number one radio station with 40 consecutive survey wins.[25]

Past controversies

In 1996, drive-time host Paul Barber was dismissed for telling listeners to boycott the Nine Network program, A Current Affair over the treatment of the Paxton family.[26] He was dismissed after the Nine Network withdrew up to $300,000 in advertising.[27]

In 1999, presenter Bruce Mansfield was sacked after it emerged that he had received benefits in exchange for giving favourable comments and interviews to companies on-air without proper prior disclosure.[28] He returned to the station as its night-time presenter in 2001.[29][30]

Former presenter Steve Price was tricked into accepting fake ecstasy tablets pressed with "3AW" from comedian John Safran as part of Safran's television show.[31]

See also


  1. Allan's Music. Department of History, The University of Melbourne | Retrieved 1 April 2013
  2. "Book launch - "3AW is Melbourne". Mediasearch | Retrieved 1 April 2013". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  3. "3AW Radio turns 80 years old. 3AW | Retrieved 1 April 2013". Archived from the original on 11 June 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  4. "New Wave Lengths". The Sydney Morning Herald. 30 August 1935. p. 11. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  5. Do touch that dial, 3AW tells listeners | The Age 2 May 2006. Retrieved 18 April 2013
  6. Media House opens, reviving interest in building over rail lines | The Age 28 October 2009. Retrieved 18 April 2013
  7. South Melbourne Home of 3AW, Magic 1278, to be Sold
  8. "3AW announcers under big brother camera". radioinfo.com.au. 13 April 2007. Archived from the original on 16 June 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  9. "3AW and Digital Radio". 3aw.com. Archived from the original on 11 June 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  10. "About Digital Radio". Digital Radio Plus. Archived from the original on 17 April 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  11. McMahon, Neil (18 July 2013). "Digital radio apps: Next stop, all stations". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media Limited. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  12. "Download the all-new 3AW radio application". 3AW. Fairfax Media Limited. 2013. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  13. Rex Hunt leaves 3AW after shock offer from Triple M
  14. 3AW reveal footy team for 2013 season | Radio Today. Retrieved 15 February 2013
  15. Cameron Ling joins 3AW broadcast team | Herald Sun 11 March 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2013
  16. "3AW Football Profiles". 3AW. Fairfax Media. 2 March 2014. Archived from the original on 2 March 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  17. Murnane, Matt (10 December 2013). "Fairfax Radio joins the Ashes cricket fray early". The Age. Fairfax Media Limited. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  18. "Fairfax Radio Network secures cricket broadcast rights deal" Archived 7 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine by 3AW Radio, The Age, 1 November 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  19. "2UE to air Ashes as ABC loses stranglehold" by Chris Barrett, The Age, 4 October2013. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  20. "3AW cricket team revealed". 3AW. 21 November 2013. Archived from the original on 23 November 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  21. "Melbourne Radio-Survey 6 2014". Radio Today. Radio Today. 30 September 2014. Archived from the original on 15 October 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  22. Te Koha, Nui (26 August 2014). "3AW radio kings Ross Stevenson, John Burns and Neil Mitchell snatch back ratings crown". Herald Sun. News Ltd. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  23. "Melbourne Radio Survey 3 2014". Radio Today. Radio Today. 3 June 2014. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  24. Jackson, Sally (19 February 2013). "GfK new radio ratings provider". The Australian. News Ltd. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  25. "3AW celebrates 5yrs at No.1 in Melbourne". Fairfax Media Limited. Fairfax Media Limited. 10 December 2013. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  26. The rating's on the wall, so Barber gets his air cut | The Age 29 March 1996. Retrieved 18 April 2013
  27. Media create new Paxton episode | The Age 27 March 1996. Retrieved 18 April 2013
  28. ABC Radio, 23 December 1999. Radio station in new cash controversy. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  29. "Hypocrite Price sledges others and sues Crikey". 21 January 2001. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  30. Safi M. "Bruce Mansfield, Melbourne radio personality, dies at 71". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  31. "Radio jock victim of drug hoax stunt". Cairns Post. 27 May 2002. p. 29.
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