Herb Kent, Chicago's 'Cool Gent,' Dies At 88
October 24, 2016 at 4:07 AM (PT)
CHICAGO radio fixture HERB KENT has passed away, with his most recent station, iHEARTMEDIA Urban AC WVAZ (V103)/CHICAGO, reporting that KENT died SATURDAY evening (10/22). He was 88 and was on the air SATURDAY morning, passing away later in the day.
Known as "The Cool Gent," KENT, a CHICAGO native, started in radio in high school, hosting a Classical show for WBEZ; he worked over the years at, among others, WMAQ-A, WGES-A, WBEE-A, and, for several years, at WVON-A. He moved to V103 in 1988.
KENT was recognized by the GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS as the longest-running DJ on earth--on-air for 72-years. In 1995, KENT was inducted into the MUSEUM OF BROADCASTING'S RADIO HALL OF FAME. CHICAGO also named a street in his honor, "HERB KENT DRIVE," in the city's BRONZEVILLE neighborhood.
iHEARTMEDIA Regional President MATT SCARANO said, "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."
iHEARTMEDIA Dir./Urban Programming DERRICK BROWN said, "HERB was our radio superhero. While I'm incredibly sad, I hold so much joy remembering the fun times we've had with him and the smiles he brought to our faces. HERB will hold an eternal place in our hearts."
Rev. JESSE JACKSON released a statement, “A piece of Soul Heaven has opened up TODAY. The COOL GENT has gone home. KENT was among the proud posse of African American disc jockeys and producers; men and women, who turned WVON radio into "The Voice of a Nation" during the freedom struggle of the 1960's. The station was the go-to-spot on the radio dial for the latest news about the Civil Rights Movement and the hottest sounds from MOTOWN. BERRY GORDY sent every song he produced to WVON before anywhere else. If a song got played on WVON, word quickly spread across the country that another hit was coming out of CHICAGO. HERB and the other GOOD GUYS including such legends as DON CORNELIUS, LUCKY CORDELL and BERNADINE C. WASHINGTON, helped make a sky full of stars."