We present multi-wavelength studies of the radio galaxy 3C 120 and the blazar CTA 102 during unprecedented γ-ray flares for both sources. In both studies the analysis of γ-ray data has been compared with a series of 43 GHz VLBA images from the VLBA-BU-BLAZAR program, providing the necessary spatial resolution to probe the parsec scale jet evolution during the high energy events. To extend the radio dataset for 3C 120 we also used 15 GHz VLBA data from the MOJAVE sample. These two objects which represent very different classes of AGN, have similar properties during the γ-ray events. The γ-ray flares are associated with the passage of a new superluminal component through the mm VLBI core, but not all ejections of new components lead to γ-ray events. In both sources γ-ray events occurred only when the new components are moving in a direction closer to our line of sight. We locate the γ-ray dissipation zone a short distance from the radio core but outside of the broad line region, suggesting synchrotron self-Compton scattering as the probable mechanism for the γ-ray production.