Herb Rogers Kent, the Chicago radio icon whose voice spread across the airwaves since just after World War II, died within hours of his final broadcast on Saturday, October 22, 2016. He was 88 years old.
Nicknamed “The Cool Gent,” “King of the Dusties,” and “The Mayor of Bronzeville,” Herb was on the air on various Chicago stations (including V103, WGES, WVON, WJJD, WGCI, WBEE,, WBEZ, and WXFM) for more than seventy years. In fact, he held the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest on-air career (beating out Paul Harvey).
Herb’ He was said to have influenced thousands of young black men in Chicago. He was inducted into the national Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in August. He also taught broadcasting and communications at Chicago State
According to an article by Dawn Rhodes entitled “Herb Kent, legendary Chicago radio personality, dies at 88”, Herb is “often credited for helping launch the careers of The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Curtis Mayfield and Minnie Riperton.” He is also said to have mentored Don Cornelius of Soul Train when he first got started in broadcasting.
There is a world of information about the unforgettable Herb Kent on the Internet, including the fact that he authored a book called The Cool Gent: The Nine Lives of Radio Legend Herb Kent.
The Chicago Reader (Saying Goodbye to Herb Kent)
Chicago Sun Times (World’s Greatest, Herb Kent, Celebrated)
Chicago Tribune (Herb Kent, Legendary Chicago Radio Personality, Dies)