Through written, digital and visual media platforms, Dometi Pongo has used his voice to give voice to others and issues, while emphasizing the power that every person has to affect change. From media relations and the power of radio, to the vital importance of open dialogue between those with varying beliefs, Pongo has become one of Chicago’s most influential media personalities.
Pongo is a highly sought-after speaker, host, panelist and thought leader on a vast range of issues impacting society including tech, racism, equality, finance and education. From the Chicago Urban League’s CULture, Race & Equity; A Seat at the Table podcast series; to Donda’s House Redefine Possible initiative; along with projects for the Creative Tech Expo, AARP Illinois, and the WNBA’s Chicago Sky, Pongo’s ability to engender trust and uncover the truth while encouraging others to express their feelings and passions, has made him a leader in his field.
Pongo’s 2015 radio feature, which chronicled the coverage of the Laquan McDonald shooting, received finalist recognition from the National Association of Black Journalists’ ‘Salute to Excellence Award for Best Radio Feature.’ In 2018, he became the inaugural recipient of the ‘Excellence in Media Black History Award’ from Northeastern Illinois University. Pongo’s work as a moderator and analyst has been covered in the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, the Huffington Post, The Chicago Defender, and other local neighborhood and community publications. His focused perspective on local and national issues has resulted in several appearances on WYCC PBS’ In The Loop as a contributor on subjects like tax reform, political reform and the impact of activist movements in Chicago and other cities experiencing discord due to violence.
Dometi Pongo is a news anchor and reporter for Chicago’s WGN Radio 720AM. Prior to joining WGN, he served as news director for the legendary urban talk radio station, WVON 1690AM where he also wrote and produced radio features spurring thoughtful dialogue on social, political and economic issues relevant to under-served communities. Born in Chicago to West African parents, Pongo added global context to these conversations by leading annual cultural excursions to Ghana in since 2016.
His relaxed yet, investigative interview style has resulted in discussions with many of today’s most influential leaders including Hill Harper, Michael Eric Dyson and David Banner. His diverse array of interests also guided him through interviews with hiphop legends like EPMD and the late Prodigy of Mobb Deep.
Understanding the power of social media in modern society, Pongo also works as a multimedia consultant assisting companies in owning their messaging and tailoring their use of digital platforms, including podcasting, production of engaging video content, and web design.
Pongo has also served as Program Director at Windy City Underground – a music-format internet radio station sponsored by the Illinois Media School. Under Pongo’s leadership, Windy City UG highlighted emerging artists and provided budding radio personalities and producers with real world experience. He hit the ground running organizing panels with industry insiders, partnering with non-profits for live remotes with student-led production teams, and organizing meet and greet events with artists like Bebe Winans, Sevyn Streeter, Kehlani, Ty Dolla Sign, Brave Williams and Sebastian Mikael.
Pongo earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration specializing in Economics from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. However, the call of journalism and exploring the issues and ills of society, and those impacted by many of these injustices led him to the Illinois Center for Broadcasting, now the Illinois Media School to enter the field of Broadcast journalism. The wordsmith still works as a Spoken Word Artist and Emcee.
Alongside his collaborator, poet and School of the Art Institute of Chicago instructor, Johnetta Anderson, Pongo created and hosted The Artist Lounge Open Mic which boasted sold out crowds for its two-year run at the South Side Community Art Center. Pongo also hosts the ChiPedia and Brainstorm With Dometi podcasts available on iTunes and all other podcasting apps.
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