Herb Kent was a high school student on Chicago’s South Side when he began his radio career hosting a classical music program for WBEZ/Chicago. In the late 1940s, Kent divided his time between playing records at WGRY/Gary and acting in radio dramas for Chicago’s NBC affiliate, WMAQ.
In 1952, Kent left WMAQ for WGES, Chicago’s largest black-oriented station. Here he worked with and learned from African-American radio pioneers Sam Evans and Al Benson. From 1955 to 1960, Kent was heard on WBEE/Chicago, where he developed a show devoted to a format he called “dusty records.”
Ken worked at WJOB/Hammond and WHFC/Chicago until 1962, when he joined WVON/Chicago. During his eight years at WVON, Kent established a huge following in the city’s growing African-American community. He was an active participant in the Civil Rights movement and devoted 15 minutes of every show to his “Stay in the Schools” campaign.
Known as "The Cool Gent," Kent has served as an inspiration to a number of aspiring African-American broadcasters. Since 1988, Kent has been part of WVAZ/Chicago, where he currently hosts the Saturday Morning Wake-Up Club.
Herb Kent was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1995.
He died on October 22, 2016.