February 4, 2009

Herb Kent, 'The Cool Gent' Still on Top at 80

From the Chicago Tribune's Black History Month Series He's known as Cool Gent, Mayor of Bronzeville and King of the Dusties, nicknames picked up during a remarkable 60-year radio career in Chicago. And at age 80, Herb Kent holds another title: ratings king, as host of the top-rated radio broadcast every Sunday afternoon on WVAZ-FM 102.7 (V103). Known for his love of Cadillacs and cowboy hats, Kent exudes a youthful charm as he shares stories of the artists he features on the urban adult station. In many cases they are friends. Since his first radio job in 1949, Kent has shared the airwaves with luminaries ranging from the Supremes to a then-obscure state Senator Barack Obama.

Kent twice squared off against Obama on the "Battle of the Best," a staple of Kent's seven-hour Sunday broadcasts. Obama both times charmed his way to landslide wins as the two lobbied for votes for dueling R&B artists. "He beat the pants off of me," Kent recalled. Read more>>

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