Radio Waves: December 1, 2023

Go Country again becomes “Your Christmas Destination”

As expected, Go Country 105 (KKGO, 105.1 FM) has switched gears (trucks?) to become Your Christmas Destination once more, a competitor to perennial holiday music leader KOST (103.5 FM). The change was made on Monday, November 27th; you can still hear your favorite country music on KKGO HD3 if you have a capable radio or on the various radio apps.

You might wonder why two stations would go all-Christmas, especially when KOST seems to be the one that benefits the most … its ratings tend to more than double every year, while competitors tend to run about the same as their normal. 

In the case of Go Country, its a matter of the owner doing what he thinks people want to hear. Saul Levine has a long history of playing either what he likes, or what he thinks the local area is lacking. Go Country itself exists today solely because Levine noted the loss of country music when the former KZLA (now KLLI, 93.9 FM)  dropped it, management stating that it wasn’t popular enough to sustain. Levine thought differently, and the results speak for themselves – Go Country is one of the most listened-to country stations in the, well, country.

For the past few years, Levine has wanted to give a choice, and while I am sure he’d like for Go Country to take a larger piece of the KOST Christmas ratings pie, I am not sure he’s too concerned about it either…being an independent owner, he has the luxury of doing whatever he wants. Frankly, he could have bailed out of radio completely and made a huge windfall selling all of his stations years ago … that he does not shows his commitment to the art form.

While both KOST and Go Country overlap quite a bit on the songs played during the season, Go Country tends to include more traditional songs with a slightly more expansive artist list than KOST, which more often veers into contemporary versions of some songs. While I like both, I lean toward Go Country with it’s more varied playlist, including some country artists.

Or maybe it’s my predisposition to go with the underdog in many of my endeavors. 

Regardless, I once asked why all holiday music all the time … don’t people get sick of it? Turns out – no. Christmas and holiday music is popular in most every city it is tried, including Los Angeles where KOST dominates the ratings under the format. When I joked about it right here a few years ago, I was good-naturedly chastised by readers — perhaps you — with comments regarding how the music just puts people in a good mood.

Research backs that up. Apparently listeners flash back to their youth, remembering more simple, happier times. Who am I to make light of that? Anything that helps people relax and feel good.

Even More Choices

Over the air is not the only way to get into the holiday music spirit. SiriusXM is, of course, running their slate of 26 holiday-themed channels — most available online or on the app only — ranging from traditional to hip-hop. The four over the air channels include Holiday Traditions on Channel 71, Holly (contemporary artists) on Channel 79, Jolly (upbeat and novelty hits) on Channel 105, and Hallmark (music form Hallmark movies) on Channel 107.

The various streaming apps such as Apple Music and Spotify have their traditional holiday channels as well. sets the standard this year as it always does with over 100 different channels playing any holiday music you want — selected by actual human curators — and the ability to set your own playlist if desired.

And I have it on good authority that The Top-40 Hit Clock stream is going to run Sonny Melendrez’ Christmas at Our House once more, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day… more details as we get closer. 

In the meantime, if you are or were a listener to the stream that plays a few hits grouped by the year as was produced by Drake/Chenault and wonder where they went, they have a new address: If you use the Streams HiFi app — one I highly recommend — the links were automatically transferred over when the change was made early last month.