Laquan McDonald, WVON’s Most Fascinating Person of 2015


#MFP2015 – Segment 4 – No. 1 – Laquan McDonald


As we write this, the future of the “most American of American cities” – as our mayor calls it – remains in the balance. Chicago’s fourth quarter was met with turmoil that left our newsroom buzzing, phone lines ringing and talk show hosts titillating as every bombshell hit the wire. All the while, News Anchor Dometi Pongo was tasked with overseeing the production of our annual year-in-review special, a project he has taken over since 2013. We call it “WVON’s 10 Most Fascinating People of 2015.”

WVON 1690 AM is the only African-American owned and operated radio station in Chicago with a legacy that stretches beyond five decades. Our urban talk format keeps our listeners informed on local and national politics, entertainment and human-interest stories. We pay special attention to the narratives and nuanced angles absent from general market outlets. From that mission spawned our trademark list of “WVON’s Most Fascinating People.” The year-in-reviews, lists of notable influencers and hot stories produced by iconic publications at large are undoubtedly remarkable.

But at times, they don’t hit the mark for our listeners. For our people.

At WVON, we work hard to bring the most creative and inspiring narratives to light. That brings us to Chicago’s Magnificent Mile in the fourth quarter of 2015. As the year wound to a close, we were still in the thick of breaking news with protests, more Bill Cosby developments, and police shooting incidents.

That made this list so difficult to complete and the writing process more tedious. More facts would emerge in one story causing major re-writes. Other stories got bumped altogether. The shooting death of Laquan McDonald led to new twists and turns as city personnel began changing as quickly as our drafts. We finally choose a list of 10 people we deemed Fascinating along with a few honorable mentions.

No story touched us more deeply than that of #1 on our list: the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Reese Rodgers uses his production skills to craft the atmosphere around the words penned by Dometi Pongo. Chicago’s elder statesman, Cliff Kelley masterfully guides us to the unlikely conclusion and potential awakening spawned by the teen’s untimely death.

To hear the full one hour special and to stay up-to-date on all of our content, sign up for the mailing list.

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