The KDON calls have a Top 40 heritage in the Monterey-Salinas market going back to at least the mid-1960s, when they were on 1460 AM.
In its early years, 102.5 was KSBW, playing middle of the road and beautiful music. It became a mainstream Top 40 station as KDON-FM in the early 1980s with no disk jockeys, in stark contrast to other Top 40 stations at the time. This may have been a gimmick at the time as the fledgling station fought to gain a foothold in the market. As the years progressed, on-air personalities were added.
The format evolved into Rhythmic Top 40 by 1988 and since then has remained one of the highest rated stations in the Monterey/Santa Cruz radio market.
In the early nineties, Mancow Muller hosted a local morning show on KDON. Other talent that has come out of KDON include MTV's "Lucious Liz" and many others who have gone on to bigger radio markets working the early part of their careers at KDON.
KDON currently plays mainly Pop, Dance, and Hip Hop, with some R&B and Old School influence. Its signature yearly concert "The Freestyle Explosion" is one of the biggest events in Salinas each year. The station is known for its heritage, and strong signal which has been heard from King City to as far north as Santa Rosa and as far east as Santa Nella, California. It is the strongest signal in the Monterey Market with full signal into the San Jose market, and covering many other parts of the Bay Area. (The latter can sometimes cause interference with Sacramento station KSFM, which has the same format—and the same frequency, as their signals collide midway in the Bay Area).
In the past few years KDON has evolved into a very successful station consistently as most of the staff who previously worked at rival station KYLD/San Francisco have brought a major market "feel" to the medium Monterey market. KDON is widely recognized by its "Phone Jack at the 50" in the morning where jocks prank call people in different character voices. They are also known for having a very active Promotions team, and Mixshow roster which consists of DJs that are at all the local clubs. Each year KDON is involved in many community events from Food Drives, Raising Money for the Relay For Life foundation, and Christmas Tree deliveries.