June 13, 2010

Sydney: 2UE

2UE was the first “B”-class (the predecessor to commercial) radio station in Australia when it launched on 26 January 1925.  The station’s original call-sign was 2EU, after the station’s owner Electrical Utilities, but it was later directed to change to 2UE.  Apparently, over the air the callsign “2EU” came across as sounding like “who are you?”  The original broadcast frequency was 1025 kHz, changing to 950 kHz in 1935 and then 954 kHz in 1978.

In 1958, with the advent of television threatening radio, 2UE  was the first station in Australia to adopt the “Top 40” music format which had been successful in the United States.  The format led to 2UE publishing Australia’s first Top 40 chart each week. 

The Top 40 concept was later adopted by other stations around Australia, including 3UZ Melbourne, 5AD Adelaide, 4BC Brisbane and 6KY Perth.

In later decades 2UE adopted more a talk-based format but it was in 1986 that 2UE, and its Melbourne counterpart 3AK, launched another bold initiative in radio – network talk-back.


In June 1986, 2UE and 3AK adopted a single on-air branding – CBC – with much of their schedule in simulcast with each other, with some exceptions for prime shifts such as breakfast where each station had its own program.  It was a bold experiment given that radio audiences are particularly parochial and many talk-back topics do not travel well outside of their home cities.  Melbourne listeners also took umbrage to their 3AK being run by Sydney interests and being dominated by Sydney-based talent, and the ratings reflected that.  The ratings were not as dire in Sydney, but still lagged well behind the top-rating stations at the time.

As a result CBC, in its initial format, was short-lived.  2UE and 3AK later went their separate ways while still maintaining elements of the talk-back format.  Both stations adopted the branding ‘Newsradio’, but 3AK soon ditched the talk format entirely.


2UE continued to present a talk-back format and, with top-rating names like Alan Jones and John Laws starting each weekday, the station built up its ratings to become a dominant force in Sydney radio for many years.



The eventual move of Alan Jones to rival station 2GB, and the retirement of Laws, has seen 2UE lose a lot of its ratings shine and is now sitting well down the ratings ladder.

2UE is now owned by Fairfax Media, the company that also owns talk-back stations 3AW Melbourne, 4BC Brisbane and 6PR Perth and music stations 4BH Brisbane, 96FM Perth and Magic 1278 (3EE) Melbourne.

Website: 2UE

No comments: