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3AK
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3AK

3AK began broadcasting November 29 1931 on the frequency 1500 kHz. It was originally owned by the Akron Tyre Company, hence the callsign "AK". It was the fourth commercial radio station to air in Melbourne, following 3UZ, 3DB and 3KZ.

The station was originally licensed as a night time station. At a time when other radio stations would cease transmission by midnight, 3AK would broadcast during the early morning hours. 3AK was later owned by religious interests who programmed the station accordingly.

In the 1950's 3AK went from an overnight station to a daytime station, restricting itself to close transmission in the early evening as it was discovered that 3AK's signal, on the same frequency as a NSW regional station 2BS Bathurst, was causing interference.

In the early 1960's Australian Consolidated Press owned by the Packer family took over both television station GTV-9 and 3AK. 3AK moved into GTV-9's premises at Bendigo Street, Richmond. During the 1960's, 3AK's program format shifted to Top 40 music with the slogan "the Good Guys". By the late 1960's 3AK and 2BS had solved their transmission conflicts by switching to directional antennas, which led to 3AK switching to 24 hour transmission.

In the early 1970's "The Good Guys" was replaced by "Where No Wrinklys Fly".

However in 1973, 3AK's format made a rapid change from Top 40 to Beautiful Music, a predecessor to today's Easy listening music format. The format paid dividends for 3AK as it took them to the top of the ratings for over a decade.

By 1985, 3AK suddenly abandoned Beautiful Music for Adult Contemporary music and the ratings plummeted as rival station 3MP took the opportunity to relaunch itself as Easy Listening and the listeners simply switched from 3AK to 3MP.

Six months later, 3AK and Sydney radio station 2UE embarked on a networked talkback format where talk programs were broadcast across both stations. The experiment was short lived.

What then followed was a constantly changing program format as 3AK went to easy listening, talk back, talkback with easy listening, and then in 1990 the station was sold to businessman Peter Corso who virtually shutdown the station and sacked its entire workforce and relaunched the station as Australia's first commercial Italian-language radio station. Despite having few listenters, the format continued until 1994 when Corso sold the station to Southern Cross Broadcasting who took the station back to Beautiful Music.

By 1996, Southern Cross had found itself owning 4 radio stations in Melbourne - 3AW, 3AK, 3EE, 3MP - whereas the legal limit was only 2 stations in a single market. They sold 3AK to a Christian organisation Fusion Media who switched the format to a mixture of talkback and magazine programs and easy listening music.

After more years of low ratings and financial troubles, 3AK was sold again, to a small media and data company Data and Commerce Limited (DCL). In 2001, DCL transferred 3AK from 1503 kHz to 1116 kHz and relaunched 3AK once again as a talk back station with its main target being the top rating 3AW and ABC radio station 3LO.

Controversial radio broadcaster Derryn Hinch returned to Melbourne radio in 3AK's morning timeslot.

Some careless programming decisions and lack of promotion led to 3AK failing to lift from the bottom of the ratings ladder. In late 2003, DCL announced it had leased the running of radio 3AK to a new organisation Sports Entertainment Network (SEN) with a plan to convert 3AK to a 24-hour sport radio station. In January 2004, 3AK became known on-air as SEN 1116 and as of April 2004 the new format has already managed to lift 3AK's profile and ratings.

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