IHeartMedia Launches WONK-FM Washington DC

WONK-FM 104.7 WWDC-HD2 Washington DC How Stuff WorksiHeartMedia has declared January 9, 2019 as “WONK Day” with the launch of Conservative News/Talk “104.7 WONK-FM” W284CQ/WWDC-HD2 Washington DC.

The daytime lineup is billed as “The Reaction Zone” with snippets from local Conservative Talk shows from iHeartMedia stations across the country anchored by Stacy Lyn and Alexandra Lane. The block also includes NBC News Radio newscasts and “Traffic & Weather Never Together” with either traffic or weather reports every ten minutes.

The station is also featuring two blocks of podcasts in the 5AM and 6PM hours with much of the content coming from iHeartMedia’s recently acquired How Stuff Works network. Evenings will include syndicated Conservative Talkers Armstrong & Getty from 7-10pm and Joe Pags from 10pm-2am.

WRKO Boston Program Director Michael Czarnecki has transferred to Washington to oversee WONK-FM.

INSTANT INSIGHT: Is the Conservative lean albeit on a translator enough for WONK-FM to chip away at the dominant 1-2 punch in the Washington market of American University’s Public News/Talk 88.5 WAMU and Hubbard News 103.5 WTOP? Those two stations combined for an 18.9 share in the Washington market in the December Nielsen Audio ratings. Add Cumulus Media’s Conservative Talk 630 WMAL/105.9 WMAL-FM‘s 4.6 share and you have nearly a quarter of the Washington audience listening to News or Talk.

The company may not even see WONK-FM as being political leaning one way or another, but when the company has dozens of Conservative leaning stations to pull content from and only one Liberal leaning one that is completely reliant on syndicated talent and also features syndicated Conservative shows in evenings its hard not to come across as biased with the content you are featuring.

iHeartMedia Washington, D.C. announced today the debut of Washington’s WONK-FM, Smart People. News., effective immediately. The launch of the new station comes after iHeartMedia’s recent on-air and on-line celebration of “National WONK Day,” a day created for listeners that have a keen interest for Inside the Beltway news. WONK-FM will broadcast on WWDC-FM 101.1 HD2, simulcast on W284CQ 104.7 and is available on iHeartRadio.com and the iHeartRadio app.

WONK-FM is a news and talk station serving thought leaders, influencers and stakeholders inside the Washington, D.C. beltway. The new station will broadcast renowned anchors Stacy Lyn and Alexandra Lane weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will feature the latest breaking news and headlines from Washington, D.C. In addition, WONK-FM will air instant reactions from opinion leaders and on-air talk personalities originating from iHeartMedia’s 130-plus News and Talk stations throughout the United States.

“WONKs are the behind the scenes people in D.C. who are innovators, experts and are passionate about their work,” said Michael Preacher, Region President for iHeartMedia. “D.C.’s WONKs are the unsung heroes who solve the world’s most difficult problems and they deserve to have a dedicated platform.”

As part of the new station launch, Michael Czarnecki will transition from iHeartMedia’s WRKO-AM 680 in Boston to lead Washington’s WONK-FM team as Program Director.

“With the accelerated pace of the today’s news cycle, we look forward to providing a contemporary approach to delivering a ‘wonk-centric’ and uniquely D.C. view of the news,” said Czarnecki. “I’m thrilled to be joining the iHeartMedia team in Washington D.C. as part of Washington’s WONK-FM.”

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  1. dudefromva says

    Just another talk station in DC. I enjoyed listening to 104.7 when I got close to Fairfax (and the DC metro) as they had a good mix of new rock with a few “active rock-ish” classics.

    It was a morning alternative to iHeart-owned DC101’s “Elliot in the Morning” (5 hours of talk) and Baltimore-based and Hearst Media-owned 98Rock’s “Justin, Scott and Spiegel” (also 5 hours of talk).

    Sad that iHeart thinks we need YET ANOTHER news/talk station in the DC metro. We don’t. As Lance clearly put it: WTOP (and it’s rebroadcasters), WAMU, and WMAL are more than enough for news and talk in DC.

    1. Trip Ericson says

      I’m right there with you. Fairfax County (Alexandria portion) resident, loved 104.7, and was willing to listen to a lot of co-channeling to hear it. I hate hearing nothing but chattering nonsense first thing in the morning, and 104.7 not only had that, but also a great music mix.

      I’m a WTOP listener when I need news/weather/traffic, and have no intention of switching to this. Yet another waste of a signal.

      I wish DC101 wasn’t so terribly bland and boring. WIYY has much of the same music as 104.7, but something about it just doesn’t work, and there’s way too much chattering by “talent” that I don’t really want to hear.

      Radio keeps trying to push listeners away; maybe I should take the hint and find another way to get music in the car…

      1. Trip Ericson says

        Of course, I meant that 104.7 did not have chattering nonsense.

  2. Les Talk says

    I agree. The Washington Post tried this on 107.7 with Hubbard. It was a Jack FM of talk. Liberal, conservative, whatever. It failed. Miserably.

    The Premium Choice Rock Nation? service on 104.7 was actually not doing badly in the ratings. Perhaps a little too well?

    1. Nathan Obral says

      The WaPo and Bonneville tried out “Washington Post Radio” as a compliment to WTOP. The WaPo pulled out and 1500/820/107.7 became “3WT,” which was doomed from the beginning. Honestly, Bonneville should have placed “Federal News Radio” on 1500 right at the start, but I won’t fault them for trying something different here.

  3. Nathan Obral says

    Those stations cited… WAMU, WTOP and WMAL… have incredible listener loyalties that are very tough to crack. Just look at recent history with WETA (prior to Bonneville shuttering WGMS) 99.1 WNEW and 570 WTNT as recent examples of competition that ultimately failed. WMAL is increasingly the exception to the norm as a conservative talker that doesn’t have outright dreadful ratings (at least in comparison to the other legacy ABC Radio talkers).

    WONK-FM could have been a straight up reincarnation of 99.1 WNEW and the prognosis would still not be good, or at least progressing beyond a fun little curiosity.

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