KOGO ("Newsradio 600 KOGO") is a talk radio station in San Diego, California. One of seven San Diego owned and operated iHeartMedia, Inc. radio stations, KOGO's main focus is local news and syndicated talk shows. At 5,000 watts day and night, the AM signal is one of the strongest in the region. The station's studios are located in San Diego's Kearny Mesa neighborhood on the northeast side. The signal pattern generally follows the coast from the transmitter site in San Diego, with reception good to Santa Barbara and beyond. KOGO night time pattern: Because of the power of the station, KOGO is one of the primary Emergency Alert System stations for the San Diego radio market. The station is the first, and the only AM radio station, in the San Diego market to broadcast in HD Radio. The KSON 97.3 antenna is at the top of one tower and the KLNV 106.5 antenna is at the top of the other.
AM 600 KOGO was originally licensed on June 30, 1925, at 1220 kilocycles at 250 watts from the top of the U.S. Grant Hotel. The call letters in 1925 were KFWV. In 1926 the call letters were changed to KFSD and the station moved down the dial to 620. KFSD stood for First in San Diego, as the station was the first commercially licensed station in San Diego. (KFBC/KGB was an amateur station that was not full-time.) In 1928 the station was facing bankruptcy, so it was sold to Thomas Sharp (who founded Sharp Health Care in San Diego). In 1931 KFSD became an affiliate of the NBC Blue Network.
In 1939 KFSD was slated to move from the U.S. Grant to a former country club east of downtown, the country club was called "Emerald Hills". But the station did not move until 1948, due to the proximity of Emerald Hills to the Chollas Naval towers. In 1948 when KFSD moved to Emerald Hills, the facility was outfitted with the finest equipment money could buy. (It was primarily RCA.) Emerald Hills was built to completely house KFSD (studios, transmitter, and offices). From Emerald Hills, San Diego's first FM station signed on the air in 1948: KFSD-FM 94.1.
In 1953 KFSD-TV (now KGTV, and not directly related to today's KFSD) became the second TV station to sign on the air in San Diego, it signed on at channel 10 on the VHF band. In 1961 600 KFSD was changing formats, so it was decided to change the call letters. The owners at the time fed facts about San Diego and its people into a new device called a computer, the computer was then asked to give them the perfect call letters for this station. The computer gave them the call letters KOGO. In 1961 the San Diego legend known as KOGO was born.
In 1972 Time Life Broadcasting (owners of KFSD, KOGO since 1961) sold the combo, but due to FCC regulations at the time the stations had to be split off. 600 KOGO was sold to Retlaw (Walter spelled backwards) which was Disney's Broadcast division. Channel 10 was sold to McGraw Hill Publishing and the call letters were changed to KGTV (which stands for KOGO-TV). 94.1 got back the call letters of KFSD, but was sold many times over, but was primarily a classical station. 94.1 changed call letters to KFSD, then KXGL (for the Eagle), then to KJQY (for KJOY), and finally to KMYI (formerly My 94.1, now Star 94.1). 600 was changed to "KOGO radio 60", then to "KOGO radio 6", then to "KOGO radio 6, the radio magazine".
The Shadacks (Ed and his nephew Tom) took over KOGO and 106.5 KPRI, and ran both of the stations into the ground by 1982. In 1983 both stations changed call letters to KLZZ AM/FM (went under the name Class FM/AM). KLZZ flopped, and that is when Edens Broadcasting bought the stations and turned both of them into CHR stations Q-106 (KKLQ AM/FM). In the early 1990s Par Broadcasting bought the stations and separated the AM from the FM. Par bought back the call letters KOGO for 600. The KOGO call letters, during the hiatis, were on 1590 AM in Ventura, California. At that time, 1590 was owned by Jack Woods (formerly Charlie of Charlie and Harrigan on KFMB and KCBQ). In 1997, Par Broadcasting sold its San Diego stations to Jacor/Citicasters, who in turn merged with Clear Channel in 1999. KOGO was reunited with its original FM sister in 1998 when Jacor/Citicasters purchased the radio properties of Nationwide Communications.
Today Emerald Hills is still the home of the KOGO transmitter, and its two-tower directional array. The KOGO towers are twin 410 foot self-supported Ideco towers. The original 1948 RCA BTA-5F 5 kilowatt transmitter is still in place but is no longer used. It is being acquired by a private collector. The BTA-5F was designed by John Vassos, the father of American art deco design, the 5F was named "The Train" by Vassos, as it looked like a train speeding by. Most of the others have either been destroyed, partially scrapped, or put into private collections. The 1170 KCBQ BTA-5F was scrapped and most of the parts given to KOGO, the pieces of KCBQ's transmitter are still at KOGO for the BTA-5F. There are 3 remaining complete RCA BTA-5F's; KRKD/KIIS (Brad Hollander collection), WFIL (Mike Dorrough collection), and WIBW Topeka.
KOGO programming began simulcasting on KUSS 95.7 FM November 7, 2011. This simulcast ended on November 16, 2012, at 7:00 pm, when KOGO-FM began airing a stunt of Christmas music. This was most likely due to the fact that, unlike many other talk radio stations across America that simulcast programming on the FM dial, the FM simulcast never improved KOGO's ratings.
On October 14, 2014 KOGO added three news blocks to its program schedule.
Until 2012–2013, KOGO was the official broadcast home for the San Diego State Aztecs basketball and football programs. However, some basketball games are transferred to KLSD if the football team is also playing at the same time, or if it is a weekday early-evening game on the West Coast. As of the 2013–2014 season, Aztec football and basketball games now air on The Mighty 1090.
KOGO was also the radio home of the San Diego Chargers in the early 1980s. Ted Leitner handled play-by-play with Pat Curran in the booth. Pre and post game show duties were handled by Randy Hahn and Jim Laslavic. The games were eventually simulcast on KLZZ 106.5 FM. In 1985, XETRA took away the broadcast rights and Leitner was replaced by Lee Hamilton, who had come in from Phoenix.
During the California wildfires of October 2007, news, information and talk from KOGO was simulcast on every other station in the San Diego area owned by Clear Channel from the night of October 21 to the evening of October 24. KOGO dropped all commercial breaks during this period. KOGO was also simulcast on channel 247 of XM Satellite Radio, which the service uses for emergency information.
In May 2009, KOGO's newscasts outside of morning and early evening, were being produced by Los Angeles' KFI. It was also disclosed that some newscasts in the evening were "taped".