Dometi Pongo (pronounced Doe-Muh-TEE) is a Chicago-native who earned his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUe). While there, he served as a key contributor to the Black Studies Program and its interactive medium The Cultural Front.
SIUe awarded Pongo the Dr. MLK Humanitarian Award for his continuous work in service-oriented projects. He was the first student in the St. Louis market to be deemed both a National Black MBA Association Scholar and a National Sales Network Scholar in the same year.
Upon graduating, he worked as a Business Analyst for Target Corp. in Minneapolis and a freelance spoken word artist, emcee and audio engineer. Pongo left the corporate world to return to Chicago and devote more time to developing his career in media broadcasting and the arts.
After refining his skills as a broadcaster at the Illinois Media School (formerly the Illinois Center for Broadcasting), he joined WVON 1690AM as News Director and Morning Anchor. His morning and midday news, weather, and traffic updates are heard weekdays from 6am – 12pm (CST). Pongo also assists in writing and producing WVON’s audio documentaries, lending his perspective to high profile panels and community forums. Pongo has become one of Chicago’s leading analysts on topics ranging from journalistic best practices to diversity in media and criminal justice reform. His 2015 feature chronicling the coverage of the Laquan McDonald shooting was a finalist for the National Association of Black Journalists’ Salute to Excellence Award for a Radio Feature.
From Spring 2015 – 2016, Pongo split his time also working as the 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 was devoted to highlighting emerging artists and giving budding radio personalities and producers 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.
The wordsmith still works as a Spoken Word Artist and Emcee. Alongside his collaborator, poet and literary instructor Johnetta Anderson, Pongo hosts The Artist Lounge Open Mic every first and third Friday of the month at the South Side Community Art Center.
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