|City||Los Angeles, California|
|Broadcast area||Greater Los Angeles area|
Go Country 105|
105.1 Your Christmas Destination (November-December)
"Southern California's Country Station"|
"Southern California's Christmas Destination" (Nov-Dec)
|Frequency||105.1 MHz (also on HD Radio)|
|First air date||February 18, 1959 (as KBCA)|
HD2: Oldies -- "1260 K-SURF" (KSUR simulcast)
HD3: Classic country
HD4: Adult contemporary -- "Lite FM L.A."
|HAAT||880 meters (2,890 ft)|
|Callsign meaning||K K GO Country 105|
|Owner||Mount Wilson Broadcasting|
|Sister stations||KNRY, KSUR|
KKGO (105.1 MHz, "Go Country 105") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to Los Angeles, California and broadcasting to the Greater Los Angeles area. The station airs a country music format. KKGO was founded by Saul Levine and is still owned by his corporation, Mount Wilson Broadcasting. It remains the only independently owned-and-operated commercial FM radio station licensed to Los Angeles.
Saul Levine launched the station at 105.1 FM in February 1959 as KBCA, one of the first FM stations to broadcast from Mount Wilson. In 1979, the station changed its callsign to KKGO. This was prompted by a court challenge from KABC, according to one local podcaster. The station aired a traditional jazz music format until 1989.
When cross-town KFAC dropped classical music in favor of a popular music format on September 20, 1989, KKGO adopted KFAC's displaced classical music format. The official switch from jazz to classical occurred on January 1, 1990 and began with selections from Franz Lehár's operetta The Land of Smiles. In 2000, the call letters were changed to KMZT to reflect on their rebranding as "K-Mozart". The KKGO call letters were then moved to the co-owned station at 1260 AM.
When longtime country station KZLA flipped formats in August 2006, it left the two largest media markets in the United States and three of the top four without a full-time country music station. The New York City area had been without a country station since WYNY signed off in 2003. (Cumulus Media's "Nash-FM" debuted on January 21, 2013, with WNSH (94.7 FM) being the first country station to use the "Nash FM" branding.) In the San Francisco Bay Area, KZBR also changed format in 2005 (only to return to country as "The Wolf" after Entercom took over the station in March 2007). The other top-three market, Chicago, is served by WUSN.
On February 26, 2007 at 5:00 a.m., in a surprise move announced only three days earlier, Mount Wilson Broadcasters flipped KKGO from K-Mozart to country as "Go Country 105". The company cited declining advertising revenues for the classical format. Saul Levine swapped the formats of 105.1 FM with 1260 AM, bringing the country format and the KKGO calls back to FM while moving the classical programming and the KMZT calls to the AM signal. (XESURF continued to play country music, first simulcasting KKGO's format, but later splitting its programming from that of KKGO). After playing Mozart's "String Quartet no. 23 in F major, K. 590", Los Angeles was left once again without a commercial analog FM classical music station.
KKGO brought country music back to the FM dial after a six-month absence, much to the delight of Southern California country fans who had spent that time petitioning the radio community to restore country radio in Los Angeles. Such activity included writing letters, making phone calls, wearing "I Want My Country Music Back" shirts, and distributing ribbons reading "Save Country Music". Their goal was to assure broadcasters and others that the country music format would be a valuable asset to a local radio station. The first song on Go Country 105 was "Only in America" by Brooks & Dunn.
On May 8, 2013, KKGO began limiting access to the online stream of Go Country 105 to listeners in California due to rising royalty rates from the exponential growth of the streaming audience. KKGO's sister stations and HD subchannels did not restrict their respective streams. As of 2015, this restriction has been lifted; access to the stream is available to all United States residents via the KKGO website as well as through iHeartRadio.
Until 2015, KKGO has been simulcast on KGIL (FM) in Johannesburg, California, extending Go Country 105's reach into the Mojave Desert. The simulcast ended after Mount Wilson's sale of KGIL to Adelman Broadcasting closed.
On November 15, 2016, KKGO began its annual tradition of airing Christmas music around the clock in November and December, rebranding itself as "105.1 Your Christmas Destination". With this move, the station competes directly with KOST, which also switches to a 24/7 Christmas format. During this time, KKGO's regular, non-seasonal country music remains available online only. Although the station is formatted as a country music station year-round, KKGO plays Christmas songs from both country and non-country artists. The station reverted to its basic country format on December 26, 2016. This pattern has been repeated ever since, with the 2017 format flip occurring on November 20.
KKGO began broadcasting an HD Radio digital signal in 2005. As of June 2018, KKGO's HD subchannels carry the following content:
In 2005, Mount Wilson Broadcasting started multicasting the programming of its two AM stations at the time, KKGO in Beverly Hills and XESURF-AM in the Tijuana, Mexico-San Diego border area were carried on KKGO's HD2 signal, hosting an adult standards format known as "Unforgettable 540 & 1260". While the AM signals combine to cover much of the Southern California area, they were still weak, especially at night in the Orange County area, and the FM HD2 simulcast helped boost the reach of the format.
In March 2015, the HD3 subchannel flipped from Country Classics to "Unforgettable", an adult standards format with music consisting of what is known as "The Great American Songbook". Artists representative of this genre are Nat King Cole, Barbra Streisand, Harry Connick, Jr., Tony Bennett, Mel Tormè, Rosemary Clooney, Dean Martin, Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, and Michael Bublé. This took the subchannel back to a format similar to the one it aired a few years prior under the banner of "Retro 105". However, Retro 105 was only heard in Los Angeles whereas Unforgettable is classified as syndicated and is heard in Monterey, California on KNRY as well. Later, Unforgettable moved to KKGO's HD4 subchannel.