August 11, 2014

Radio Legend Herb Kent "The Cool Gent" and Original Good Guy

At 85 Herb Kent is still going strong on Chicago's V103 every Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon. Set to appear on TV One's 'Unsung.'

Here's a brief bio-- Herb "The Cool Gent" Kent was born on the south side of Chicago in 1929. He began his career as the host of a classical music show on WBEZ in Chicago at the age of 15. During the 1940s, Kent was heard on WGRY in Gary, Indiana and on WMAQ in Chicago. In 1952, Kent went to work for WGES, the city's largest black-programmed station. From 1955 until 1960 he was on the air at WBEE. Then in 1962, Kent was hired at WVON/Chicago. Since 1988, Kent has worked at V103 WVAZ-FM. As one person put it in the video comment section, "Herb Kent is a national treasure and a Chicago legend."

We had a chance to check out Herb and as usual he shared a few stories and jokes during his breaks on his Sunday broadcast. On many Sundays he features a call-in and vote segment "Battle of the Best." This is when he represents a legendary R&B artist or group and pits them against another artist. Then in turn that group or artist is represented by a guest host with a Chicagoland connection. [Check out the videos below.]
What makes the show great is that it is a throwback to a time when disc jockeys played what they wanted to play. No strict playlist here on Herb's show. The music ranged from 1960's through to the late 80's with jazz classics wrapping up each break. It was definitely a breath of fresh air to hear a show without a strict and researched playlist.

During one break, Herb told a story, "I remembered the time a 900 pound woman danced for me and said... DA YA THINK I'M SEXY?" (Who else would or could play Rod Stewart on an R&B/Urban AC station in 2014. The Rock song did chart on R&B stations in the 80's.)

Herb also mentioned Rick James. "You know I think he was one of the biggest stars in the history of R&B and women just loved him." Then he said, "I never understood why women loved him so much." 

At 85 years of age Herb Kent pretty much says what ever he wants. Who's going tell him he can't? He's seen it all in radio and music. But it's all in good fun. Even when he tells listeners he is feeling sick in order to get votes. See first video below at the 10 minute mark. Look the guy is 85 years old. We felt sorry for him.

This Wednesday, August 13 at 8/7p.m. CT, Herb Kent will discuss the Chicago based group The Emotions on a repeat episode of TV One's Unsung. Herb Kent on facebook

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