3UZ was founded by electrical engineer Oliver John Nilsen CBE, who was later to become a Lord Mayor of Melbourne. Known as "O.J.", Nilsen had created an electrical business, Oliver J. Nilsen & Co. (later Oliver J. Nilsen (Australia) Ltd) in 1916, manufacturing electric jugs, kettles, toasters, crystal sets and radios.
On 6 February 1925 Nilsen was granted a broadcasting licence and in March 3UZ commenced operations as "The Voice of Victoria" from 45 Bourke Street. Keith Cooke was engaged as chief announcer, and first night artists included Leslie Dobson, George Cowley, Dulcie Cherry, and Gertrude Hutton. After the launch, Listener-In magazine remarked that the station :
"... has received many favourable comments from Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales, and many remote country districts in Victoria on its transmission."
3UZ had Victoria's first "B-class" licence, permitting it to broadcast paid advertisements. At the time, other stations were dependent on subscriptions. In 1929, 3UZ along with 3DB participated in experimental television broadcasts using the Radiovision system.
Originally on a frequency of 930 kHz, 3UZ later moved to 927 kHz in 1978 with the implementation of 9 kHz spacing on the AM band.
For the next sixty years the station achieved consistent top ratings as "The Greater 3UZ", with stars including Stan "The Man" Rofe, ], John McMahon, Cliff "Nicky " Whitta, Graham Kennedy, Happy Hammond, Allan Lappan, Don Lunn, Ken Sparkes, John Vertigan, Neil Thompson, Don Lane and Bert Newton.
1985 sale to ENT
Radio Sport 927
The station was sold in 1986 to a horse and greyhound racing group and in 1996 changed its on-air identification to Radio Sport 927.
A handful of programme titles from 3UZ's history:
- Clancy Of The Overflow
- Crosbie Morrison Session
- Dan Dare
- Grouches and Appreciations
- Harry Dearth's Playhouse
- Hymn For The Day
News Beat reported motor vehicle accidents in Melbourne, with audio recorded at the scene, interviewing witnesses and tow-truck drivers and typically ending with "... and here is the police report". Eventually, Newsbeat reporter Neil Thompson attended a fatal accident which turned out be his own son's. In later years, the program broadened its focus to include any calls made on emergency services - ambulance, fire police. It was broadcast on Sunday mornings, with the tagline "this was Melbourne, overnight". In the 1980s, it was hosted by Paul Makin.
- Portia Faces Life
- Radio Auditions
Hosted by Johnny McMahon, Radio Auditions was an extraordinarily long-lived talent show in which participants were awarded up to three "gongs". By the late 1960s it had become a rather sad affair, with Shirley Radford heroically attempting to provide piano accompaniment to nervous persons whose ambitions exceeded their talent. Entertainer Barry Crocker first appeared on the programme as did Jamie Redfern who went on to appear with Shirley Radford on HSV-7s "Brian and The Juniors". Shirley Radford was best known for her showcasing talented musicians. Launching the career for none other than Roselyn Della Sabina.
- Tailwaggers’ Club
- The Early Risers’ Club
- Who’s Who In Rhythm
- biography of Oliver John Nilsen
- Nilsen company website
- 80 years of the Greater 3UZ(archived page at web.archive.org, retrieved 1 December 2001)
- video of 3UZ tower demolition
- 1970 ad featuring DJ Don Lunn
- 80 Years of the Greater 3UZ- Melbourne Observer 9 Mar 2005, Page 11
- Australian TV - The First 25 Years by Peter Bielby, page 173. ISBN 0-17-005998-7
- Scoop Media Flash - 21 May 2001