Herb Kent, Chicago Radio Legend

February 25, 2009 6:54:33 AM PST
Celebrated Chicago deejay Herb Kent has played music on the air continuously longer than anyone else in the history of radio. Known as the Black Dick Clark (although the "real" Dick Clark started his radio career a year after Kent) and called the Cool Gent by his fans, Herb Kent is a legend in the business. Kent paved the way for many African Americans in the music industry, helped shape today's radio personalities and now shares all in his highly anticipated autobiography. With a foreword by Mayor Richard M. Daley, The Cool Gent: The Nine Lives of Radio Legend Herb Kent (Lawrence Hill Books, an imprint of Chicago Review Press, February 2009) by Herb Kent and David Smallwood provides an extraordinary behind-the-scenes look at African American music, culture and personalities from the 1950s into the 21st century. Revealing never-before-told anecdotes of some of the most colorful characters in the business, The Cool Gent offers a vivid portrait of a radio icon.

Kent's obsession with radio began when he was five years old, and in 1944 at age 16, he made his official debut. The Cool Gent traces the high and low points of Kent's career, including the epitome of his success-as the top deejay at the most powerful black station in the country, WVON-AM in Chicago-to his struggles with drug and alcohol addiction and battles with cancer. Despite it all, the much-loved broadcaster persevered to become the first black deejay inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1995.

In addition to Kent's own story, The Cool Gent explores the history of radio and provides an insider's look at seven decades of black music and radio. Kent has been at the forefront of every music trend, including Motown, R&B, soul, funk and black punk. He has known and interviewed music icons like Duke Ellington, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Smokey Robinson.

Kent's longevity and continuity on the radio is legendary and he still possesses an uncanny talent for picking timeless tunes. The Cool Gent is a testament to Kent's significant contributions to broadcast radio and the remarkable role he played in opening doors for many African Americans in the industry.

Herb Kent is an urban radio pioneer and legendary DJ who first went on the air in 1944 and still broadcasts today. He was the first African American to be inducted into the Museum of Broadcasting Radio Hall of Fame. He teaches broadcasting at Chicago State University. He lives in Chicago. David Smallwood is a journalist and the coauthor of Profiles of Great African Americans. He is a founder of, contributor to, and former editor of N'Digo, a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, and a former reporter and editor for the Chicago Sun-Times and Jet Magazine. He lives in Park Forest, Illinois.

Book Details:

Title: The Cool Gent: The Nine Lives of Radio Legend Herb Kent

Author: Herb Kent and David Smallwood; Foreword by Mayor Richard M. Daley

Publisher: Lawrence Hill Books, an imprint of Chicago Review Press, Distributed by Independent Publishers Group

Publication: February 2009, $24.95 (CAN $27.95), Cloth, ISBN-10: 1556527748; ISBN-13: 9781556527746

Autobiography/African American, 302 pages, 6 x 9, 35 B&W photographs

Available at bookstores everywhere and through Independent Publishers Group,

814 N. Franklin St., Chicago, IL 60610.

Toll-free number for orders only: 1-800-888-4741.

Visit us online at www.ipgbook.com.

Book Signings

WHEN/TIME: Wednesday, February 25, 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
WHAT: Author reading and book signing
WHERE: Gary City Hall, 401 Broadway, Gary, IN 46402

WHEN/TIME: Thursday, February 26, 3:00 pm-6:00 pm
WHAT: Author reading and book signing
WHERE: University of Illinois, 801 S. Morgan, Chicago, IL 60607

WHEN/TIME: Saturday, February 28, 2:00 pm-3:30 pm
WHAT: Author reading and book signing
WHERE: Borders Books Hyde Park, 1539 E. 53rd Street, Chicago, IL 60615

WHEN/TIME: Saturday, March 7, 2:00 pm-4:00 pm
WHAT: Author reading and book signing
WHERE: Azizi Books, 134 Lincoln Mall Drive, Matteson, IL 60443

WHEN/TIME: Tuesday, March 10, 6:00 pm-9:00 pm
WHAT: Author reading and book signing
WHERE: Chicago Public Library's Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State Street, Chicago, IL 60605

WHEN/TIME: Saturday, March 14, 2:00 pm-4:00 pm
WHAT: Author reading and book signing
WHERE: Afriware, 948 Lake Street, Oak Park, IL 60301

WHEN/TIME: Saturday, March 21, 2:00 pm-4:00 pm
WHAT: Author reading and book signing
WHERE: The Underground Bookstore, 1727 E. 87th Street, Chicago, IL 60617


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