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National WONK Day – January 9, 2025

National WONK Day takes place on January 9 every year, and as you can probably imagine, it celebrates Washington, D.C.s political enthusiasts, those committed to their beliefs. A ‘WONK’ is someone genuinely interested in a specific field, and the term is especially used to refer to those deeply involved in politics. Truly dutiful individuals, working for the greater good. In 2019, iHeartRadio launched Washington’s WONK-FM to honor those residing in the capital. According to the company, “We think WONKS deserve a day of recognition and a radio station to match! You work hard, and you deserve to play hard.”

History of National WONK Day

The radio has been a fixture in human lives for many years now. Its name refers to a technology for “signaling and communicating radio waves,” the basis of wireless transmissions. These waves were first identified in 1886 by German physicist Heinrich Hertz, and his discovery eventually led to the invention of the first practical radio transmitters and receivers by Guglielmo Marconi, between 1895 and 1896. Radios, however, only became popular around 1900.

Near the turn of the 20th century, Reginald Fessenden started working on positioning audio radio transmissions as a successor to earlier spark-gap transmissions. By the fall of 1900, Fessenden was able to transmit speech over a distance of a mile, making it the first known successful audio transmission using radio signals. Unfortunately, the sound was too distorted to be commercially viable. Later on, on Christmas Eve 1906, Fessenden was able to orchestrate the first radio program broadcast, playing ‘O Holy Night’ on his violin and reciting verses from the “Bible.” This was the earliest instance of amplitude modulation or A.M. radio.

Radio programs have since been used for a variety of purposes, from entertainment to news. In 2019, iHeartRadio launched Washington’s WONK-FM in honor of WONKs residing in the capital of the United States. Academically speaking, a WONK is a “person who takes an enthusiastic or excessive interest in the specialized details of a particular subject or field, especially political policy.” To this, iHeartRadio states: “We think WONKS deserve a day of recognition and a radio station to match! You work hard, and you deserve to play hard.”

National WONK Day timeline


Radio waves are identified by Heinrich Hertz.

1895 — 1896
Radio Transmitters and Receivers

The first practical radio transmitters and receivers are invented by Guglielmo Marconi.

Transmission of Speech

Reginald Fessenden transmits speech over a mile.

The First Radio Program

Reginald Fessenden orchestrates the first radio program.

National WONK Day FAQs

Is iHeartRadio free?

Yes, it is.

Can you listen to the radio on the internet?

Yes, you can!

Who put the radio on the internet?

Carl Malamud pioneered internet radio.

National WONK Day Activities

  1. Learn about what a WONK is

    Never heard of a WONK? If you’re entirely unaware of what the word even means, look it up!

  2. Thank a WONK

    If you happen to know a WONK, thank them for living their life with such zeal. We love people who live so passionately.

  3. Listen to WONK-FM

    If you’re so inclined, give WONK-FM a listen this January 9. It’s bound to be an interesting listen.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About The Radio

  1. Video games

    During the 1980s, people were able to download video games from radio broadcasts.

  2. The Eiffel Tower

    Though the Eiffel Tower was meant to be taken down, it still stands since it was used as a radio tower during WWI.

  3. Bird casualties

    About seven million birds are killed by radio antennae annually.

  4. Traveling radio waves

    Radio waves can travel forever if they’re not absorbed.

  5. Texting

    A text sent from one phone to another is a radio wave.

Why We Love National WONK Day

  1. It’s an introduction to slang

    ‘WONK’ may not be a very commonly used slang. National WONK Day is an introduction to it.

  2. It appreciates enthusiastic people

    WONKs are an essential part of any society. National WONK Day celebrates them.

  3. It’s an opportunity to learn about the radio

    A lot of National WONK Day focuses on the radio. It is, thus, a great opportunity to learn about the technology.

National WONK Day dates

2025January 9Thursday
2026January 9Friday
2027January 9Saturday
2028January 9Sunday
2029January 9Tuesday

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