Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Herb Kent  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1929 in Chicago, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Herb Kent on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Kent is a native Chicagoan.

Biographical and Professional Information

Kent is an urban radio pioneer. To many Chicagoans, Kent, known as "The Cool Gent", the “King of the Dusties,” and the “Honorary Mayor of Bronzeville,”. He has informed and entertained radio listeners over the last 70+ years on his long running weekly radio show.Today, Kent hosts two highly rated shows on WVAZ-FM. In 1995, Kent was inducted into the Museum of Broadcasting’s Radio Hall of Fame. During his radio career, Kent worked at stations such as WVON, WJJD, and more, interviewing many of today’s music legends, including Duke Ellington, Smokey Robinson, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Dianna Ross, and Marvin Gaye. In 2009, the Guinness World Records certified Herb Kent as the longest tenured deejay, having at that time spent 66 years on the airwaves in Chicago. He ventured into local television in the late 1990s as host of a popular dance show, ''Steppin at Club Seven'', later to be renamed ''The New Dance Club''. Kent is a contributing writer for ''N’DIGO'' magazine. His autobiography is the ''The Cool Gent''.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Cool Gent: The Nine Lives of Radio Legend Herb Kent
ISBN: 1556527748

Chicago Review Press. 2009

When Herb Kent was a straight-A college student in the 1940s, his white professor told him, “You have the best voice in class, but you’ll never make it in radio because you’re a Negro.” This did not deter the poor kid from the Chicago housing projects who had decided on a radio career at age five. It was just one more obstacle to face head on and overcome.

Known as the Cool Gent, the King of the Dusties, and the Mayor of Bronzeville, Herb Kent is one of radio’s most illustrious and legendary stars. This fascinating autobiography details both the high and low points of Herb's life while providing a vivid picture of black music, culture, and personalities from the 1950s to today. Herb had a typical rock-and-roll lifestyle—drugs, alcohol, all-night partying, and women—eventually hitting rock bottom, where he finally faced his personal demons. At least nine times Herb came close to death, but through it all, he maintained his debonair, classy persona and his uncanny knack for picking timeless tunes. And he didn’t save only himself along the way, he blazed new trails for all African Americans and remains a role model for today's top deejays.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (No)