Chicago radio legend Herb Kent, the Cool Gent, dies at 88

Herb Kent (Facebook)
Herb Kent (Facebook)

“RIP Herb Kent “The Cool Gent” a Chicago legend!!! On and off the air. Condolences to the family and friends,” rapper Lupe Fiasco writes on Twitter on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016 following the announcement of the death of Herb Kent who passed away on Saturday, Oct. 22.

iHeartMedia Chicago confirmed his passing. Region president Matt Scarano writes in a statement, “We are so thankful for the privilege of working alongside such an historic figure as Herb Kent for the past 27 years. Our thoughts and prayers are with Herb’s family, friends, and loved ones. His passion for radio and work ethic was second-to-none.”

The octogenarian was still in his prime and working at WVON, WJJD and V103, hosting two highly rated weekend shows on WVAZ FM-”V103.” Kent was a professor lecturing communication students at Chicago State University. A Chicago native, his career in radio reached 70 years.

He’s credited with helping to launch the careers of such R&B artists as The Temptations, Minnie Riperton, Curtis Mayfield, and Smokey Robinson. During the turbulent ‘60s, Herb became a prominent Civil Rights activist using his broadcast platform. He hosted a program with Stevie Wonder for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s last visit to Chicago.

In 1995, Kent was inducted into the Museum of Broadcasting’s Radio Hall of Fame and he also has a street named in his honor, “Herb Kent Drive,” in Bronzeville.

In 2009, Kent released his book Cool Gent, The Nine Lives of a Radio Legend and was also inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest on air DJ.

A little over two weeks ago, Kent celebrated his 88th birthday. On Oct. 6, he wrote a thank you note on his Facebook page, “Thank you to all my Fans for the birthday wishes, each of you made my day special. I can dig it!”

Yvette Caslin
Yvette Caslin

I'm a writer, image architect & significance marketer. Love photojournalism, creative expression & originality.


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