#1 Frankie Crocker
I am happy that the Number 1 Top DJ of all time if from my hometown of Buffalo, N.Y. When Frankie was on WUFO in the 60′s (early 70s) I was too young to remember him but I remember hearing his name years after he left. Buffalo N.Y. may not be the place that people want to move to today but back in the 50s, 60s and early 70s… Buffalo WAS the place everyone from the south moved to. There was a ton of great paying jobs at the Steel Plants and the entertainment scene was bustling for a small town like that. WUFO, Frankie’s Buffalo station, was all the rage as the AM station with some of the greatest black jocks in the world coming through those doors. Frankie’s success catapulted when he went to work in NY after leaving Buffalo, most notably WBLS. I had the great pleasure of meeting Frankie on 2 occasions during my industry tenure. Frankie left NY in the late 90s and spent a lot of his retirement time between LA and Miami to take it easy but he could always
to take it easy but he could always be found on the golf course in either place. A huge part of Frankie’s success was not only his undeniable talent but his ability to step outside the “urban radio box” and mix, mingle and market himself with people from all walks of life. Here’s a clip of Frankie and more info on The Radio Facts Number 1 Greatest Urban DJ of All Time
Frankie “Hollywood” Crocker (December 18, 1937, Buffalo, New York, USA ““ October 21, 2000, North Miami Beach, Florida) was a famous New York radio DJ. (Coined “Hollywood” for his keen sense of showmanship and self-marketing tactics.) According to popeducation.org, Crocker began his career in Buffalo at the AM Soul powerhouse WUFO (also the home to future greats Eddie O’Jay, Herb Hamlett, Gary Byrd and Chucky T) before moving to Manhattan, where he first worked for Soul station WWRL and later top-40 WMCA in 1969. He then worked for WBLS-FM as program director, taking that station to the top of the ratings during the late 1970s. He sometimes called himself the “Chief Rocker”, and he was as well known for his boastful on-air patter as for his off-air flamboyance.
When Studio 54 was at the height of its popularity, Crocker rode in through the front entrance on a white stallion. In the studio, before he left for the day, Crocker would light a candle and invite female listeners to enjoy a candlelight bath with him. He signed off the air each night to the tune “Moody’s Mood For Love” by vocalese crooner King Pleasure. Crocker, a native of Buffalo, coined the phrase “urban contemporary” in the 1970s, a label for the eclectic mix of songs that he played.
He was the master of ceremonies of shows at the Apollo Theater in Harlem and was one of the first V.J.’s on VH-1, the cable music video channel, in addition to hosting the TV series Solid Gold and NBC’s Friday Night Videos. As an actor, Crocker appeared in five films, including Cleopatra Jones, Five on the Black Hand Side, and Darktown Strutters.
He is credited with introducing as many as 30 new artist to the mainstream including Manu Dibango’s “Soul Makossa” to American audiences. While both Gary Byrd and Herb Hamlett were influenced by Crocker,it is only Hamlett that always attributes his success to his mentor in Buffalo, Frankie Crocker.
#2 Donnie Simpson
I had never heard of Donnie until I watched Video Soul many years ago. He was certainly the best host the show ever had and I certainly believe part of his demise on the show was BETs foolish decisions to pair him with co-hosts. I have met Donnie once or twice and he is the very person that was on Video Soul. I’ve just learned that there is a very good chance he will re-emerge on DC radio after his non compete is up in the next year from WPGC. Donnie, compared to most on the list (besides Wendy Williams) is still relatively young and started in radio at a very young age.
Donnie Simpson (born January 30, 1954) is a longtime American radio DJ as well as a television and movie personality. He hosted The Donnie Simpson Morning Show on Washington, D.C. radio station WPGC-FM from March 1993 to January 29, 2010. Simpson is the first urban-format radio personality to have an annual salary over $1 million without being syndicated. He was Billboard’s “1998 Air Personality of the Year”. He is also known by the nickname “Dr. Green Eyes”
Simpson began his career at age 15 at Urban Contemporary radio station WJLB in Detroit, Michigan, where he remained for eight years. In 1977 he relocated to Washington, D.C., where he began working at WRC-FM, known as “Disco 93.9? (now WKYS), as morning drive host and program director. He remained with WKYS for 15 years through its format migration from Disco-based Rhythmic Contemporary Hits to Urban Contemporary in the 1980s. In 1981, he was hired as back-up anchor for the George Michael Sports Machine sports show on NBC’s Washington television outlet, WRC-TV.
Simpson left WPCG-FM over a dispute with the station’s owner, CBS Radio, regarding changes CBS requested to reverse falling ratings. On his final show, Simpson received phone call farewells from Toni Braxton, LL Cool J, Wyclef Jean, John Legend, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and other musicians. As of January 2010, Simpson hasn’t said what he’ll do next. On the final WPGC-FM show, Simpson said he is not retiring; but his severance agreement prohibits him from taking another position on the radio in Washington, D.C. until March 2011.
Simpson has a twin brother, Lonnie Simpson, who resides in Detroit.
Host of Video Soul
In 1983, Simpson was recruited by Bob Johnson, founder of BET, to host the network’s primetime music video show, Video Soul. Simpson remained with the show until its cancellation in 1997. Between 1997 and 2000, Simpson hosted many network specials and tributes. In October 2004, he was inducted into the BET Walk of Fame.
3 Tom Joyner
“Working on the air” is an understatement considering Tom dominates urban morning radio shows across the board and is one of the first full time successful syndicated shows in the urban radio format. To his credit, Tom is the one of two (besides Doug Banks) who has a syndicated show and who is also respected as an urban radio legend at the same time.
Below is bio info on Tom
Thomas “Tom” Joyner (born November 23, 1949) is an American radio host, host of the nationally syndicated The Tom Joyner Morning Show, and also founder of REACH Media Inc., the Tom Joyner Foundation, and BlackAmericaWeb.com.
Joyner was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, and received a degree in sociology from Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University). While a student at Tuskegee Joyner joined the fraternity Omega Psi Phi.
He began his broadcasting career in Montgomery, Alabama immediately upon graduation, and worked at a number of radio stations in the American South, before moving to Chicago at WJPC (AM) (now WNTD).
In the mid-1980s, Joyner was simultaneously offered two positions: one for a morning show at KKDA-FM (K104) in Dallas and one for an afternoon show at WGCI-FM in Chicago. Instead of choosing between the two, Joyner chose to take both jobs, and for years he commuted daily by plane between the two cities, earning the nicknames “The Fly Jock” and “The Hardest Working Man in Radio.” He later told Radio Ink magazine that he racked up 7 million frequent flyer miles over the course of his employment at both stations.
In 1994, Joyner was signed by ABC Radio Networks to host a nationally-syndicated program, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, featuring Joyner and a team of comedians and commentators reporting and discussing the latest news and sports of the day, and playing popular R&B songs from the 1970s through the 1990s as well as contemporary R&B hits. Also featured are celebrity guests, on-site remotes (called “Sky Shows”), and an on-air soap opera, It’s Your World. Southwest Airlines is a prominent sponsor of the radio show, especially Joyner’s “Sky Shows,” and free round-trip airfare to any destination that Southwest flies to is a recurring giveaway on his show.
The Tom Joyner Show
In 2005, a nationally syndicated television show, The Tom Joyner Show, was launched with Joyner as emcee of a one-hour comedy/variety show, combining sketch comedy featuring the Tom Joyner Show Players (his co-hosts from the radio show), talent contests, and musical performances by such artists as Earth, Wind and Fire, Brian McKnight, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Toni Braxton. The show attracted advertisers such as McDonalds, Chrysler Corporation, WalMart and Southwest Airlines.
While the program achieved top ratings for a weekly syndicated program themed to African American viewers “” even taking the number one show position, although it was in a late night time slot “” in such markets as New York and Atlanta, affiliates in other markets were reluctant to upgrade the show to prime time for a targeted audience. Without the opportunity to reach a larger audience in earlier time slots and achieve greater revenues, the show had limited ability to offset the residuals and music clearances required by the many performers appearing on the show. Despite award recognition, in May 2006, Joyner decided not to continue due to production costs related to the music variety show concept. Re-runs are shown on TV One cable channel.
4 Vaughn Harper
The legendary Vaughn Harper is known nationwide for his signature Quite Storm show at WBLS, many in the industry were absolutely shocked when he was released and replaced by”¦ singer Keith Sweat’s show The Sweat Hotel. Needless to say, there is no doubt that Vaughn’s legacy shines on nonetheless and many Quiet Storm jocks who came after him emulated his signature style. (Vaughn’s bio from the Living Legends Foundation page below)
For more than a decade millions of New Yorkers have enhanced their evenings by listening to the “Quiet Storm”. The Tri-State area’s #1 night time music radio program. Hosted by velvet voiced air personality Vaughn Harper, it’s a panacea ““ an oasis of calm. Arbitron ratings confirm he is the people’s choice. Across the country. Harper’s critically acclaimed program remained among the top rated FM radio show, day or night.
Every Sunday through Thursday, on WBLS (107.5 FM), the X-rated voice of Vaughn seductively enraptured listeners in a lush blend of soft music””the best of the past, present and future ballads, jazz and pop-the madness of the world ceases, or seems to. People feel safe, soft and warm when listening to the “Quiet Storm.”
Reflecting on his years on WBLS at the helm of the “Quiet Storm”, Harper, Board Chairman of Velvet Voice Associates, Inc., notes, “The brightest part of my BLS experience is being able to present the best music on New York radio every night and knowing it’s appreciated. It’s what radio should be all about.”
With a voice that’s as personable as it is distinctive, Harper has contributed to the preservation of “Personality” radio. He’s also accumulated numerous television and radio commercial credits, including Gallo Wine, Stroh’s Beer, Oscar Mayer, McDonalds and Miller Beer.
Always interested in broadening his horizons, Harper also hosted New Jersey’s cable-TV show “Night Moves,” a popular video magazine. It frequently attracted the crÃ¨me-de-la-crÃ¨me of the celebrity set. However, it’s Vaughn’s magnetic presence that gave the show its tastefully unique signature.
As co-founder of the “WBLS Sure Shots” basketball team, he leads his successful hoop squad to victories in the name of various charities. In that same tradition he ensures that Velvet Voice Associates, Inc. helps guide the careers of young artists by aiding in their knowledge of the music industry.
5 Hank Spann
Hank Spann was always one of my favorite industry people. He once told me during a panel we were on (I always despised urban radio conference panels) “Kevin, you are a genius. The way you marketed your magazine (Radio Facts) was brilliant.” I was honored by that and will never forget it. I am ashamed to say that I had no idea Hank was a Buffalo radio jock back in the day. He made a masterful transition from radio to records and that was something MANY jocks wanted to do but were never able to. His son, Master DJ Tony Soul, is a DJ extraordinaire and currently living in Taiwan as he continues Hank’s phenomenal DJ legacy. This memorial tribute video is a brilliant bio of Hank Spann’s legacy in the urban industry”¦
6 Wendy Williams
Wendy Williams is the only female on the Top 10 list but her impact is undeniable as she not only stepped out of the Urban Radio box she burned it to the ground. Her gossip and girlfriend next door “How U Dewin” persona would have NEVER been accepted at MOST urban radio stations across the board in the 80s, 90s or EVEN TODAY. I don’t know who Wendy gives credit to for her success but I certainly have a LOT of respect and admiration for former WBLS programmer Vinny Brown. He is a BRILLIANT programmer who let talent shine and that is always the number one complaint I get from urban radio jocks across the board, they feel stifled by program directors. I understand, I have been there and that’s why I’m NOT there anymore (lol). Wendy’s success train finally rolled in when she wrote her New York Times best selling books while still a jock on WBLS. This is also something unacceptable at most urban stations.. outside ventures are almost immediate grounds for termination? Once again Wendy worked for a PD and an outlet that let her do her thing. The end result.. The Wendy Williams TV show. You don’t have to like her but you GOTTA respect what she has done. A talk show in many markets on a major network puts her miles ahead, even at Number Six than ANY jock in the HISTORY of urban radio. Congrats Wendy.
Wendy Joan Williams (born July 18, 1964) is an American media personality and New York Times bestselling author. Known as the “Queen Of All Media,” she hosts her own syndicated talk show, The Wendy Williams Show. Williams is known for being a former DJ in New York City, where she gossiped about entertainers and conducted celebrity interviews. Williams gained notoriety for her on-air spats with celebrities.
Williams was born to Thomas and Shirley Williams, as the middle child of three children. She and her siblings were raised in Ocean Township, New Jersey in the Wayside section.She graduated from Ocean Township High School. From 1982 to 1986, Williams attended Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, where she graduated with a B.A. in communications and was also a DJ for the college radio station WRBB 104.9 FM. Wendy Williams is an ex-cocaine offender and has been sober for over 10 years.
Williams also interned at WXKS-FM (“Kiss 108?) in Boston. She later became a DJ for radio station WVIS in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, and after ten months there, accepted a job at oldies station OLD in Washington D.C..
In 1989, Williams began at “98.7 Kiss FM” in New York City as a fill-in DJ. As rival station WBLS began hiring away staff from that station, Kiss FM hired her full-time for its morning show and gave her a non-compete clause contract; at this time she started her trademark of talking about African-American celebrities, giving listeners the dirt on their personal lives. A year later, Ms. Williams landed her own shift, eventually winning the Billboard Award for Best On-Air Radio Personality in 1993. The following year after her Billboard award Emmis Broadcasting bought out Kiss FM and switched Williams to the company’s Hot 97.
Williams was fired from Hot 97 in 1998 for allegedly getting in a fight with her co-worker Angie Martinez, while outing her romantic relationship with rapper Q-Tip. In her New York Times bestselling autobiography Wendy’s Got the Heat,Williams praised Martinez while acknowledging a mostly verbal confrontation. Williams stated that the station used the incident as an excuse to terminate her contract, and suggested that it was really pressure from hip-hop mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs which led to her dismissal. She alludes to this in her second book The Wendy Williams Experience, as she wrote “He single-handedly tried to ruin me”¦”.
After the Hot97 incident, Williams was hired by a Philadelphia station WUSL (“Power 99FM”), claiming her New York fans “left her for dead”. In 2001, Williams returned to the New York airwaves when WBLS hired her full-time for her own syndicated 2-6 p.m show. William’s friend, MC Spice of Boston, Massachusetts, offered his voice over services to the show, often adding short rap verses tailored specifically for William’s show. By 2008, she was syndicated in Redondo Beach, California (on a station which services the Los Angeles metropolitan area); Shreveport, Louisiana; Wilmington, Delaware; Toledo, Ohio; Columbia, South Carolina; Emporia, Virginia; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Tyler, Texas; and Alexandria, Louisiana among other markets.
Williams’ interview style is brash, and she refers to herself, Ã la Howard Stern, as the “Queen Of All Media”. In her television and radio shows, she regularly provides celebrity gossip.
Williams has published several books including the paperback novel Drama is Her Middle Name: The Ritz Harper Chronicles Vol. 1 (2006), which is co-authored by Karen Hunter.
In 2003, Williams interviewed R&B singer Blu Cantrell, asking questions about her sexual activities and practices, her criticism of other R&B artists, and her drug abuse. This interview was sold as a bonus DVD with Cantrell’s Bittersweet album.
Williams has been a speaker for Georges Veselle champagne.
In October 2007, Williams filled in for Jodi Applegate on WNYW’s morning television show Good Day New York.
On the July 23, 2009 episode of her television show, Williams announced that she had elected to leave radio in order to focus full-time on her television program, as well as spend more time with her family. Eight days later, Williams ended her eight-year-long venture with WBLS. That same year, she was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
Television and other media
AMV 53rd Street Studio where the show is produced
On July 13, 2008, Williams debuted her daytime talk show The Wendy Williams Show on My 9 and FOX 5 in New York, and My 13 and FOX 11 in L.A., and most FOX O&O stations except WTVT & WOGX. The show aired in New York City, Dallas, Detroit, and Los Angeles during summer 2008 for a test run. FOX television stations signed a deal with syndication company Debmar-Mercury at the end of the test to broadcast the show on its station group beginning in July 2009. The “shock jockette” remains true to her moniker when in her television trailer, she refers to exercising and crunching for her “belly flatness” and “kegeling” (strengthening her vaginal muscles). As part of the show Williams also drinks tea from various Wonder Woman themed coffee mugs.
In addition to FOX Broadcasting Networks (which also owns MyNetworkTV), BET has also picked up cable rights to The Wendy Williams Show which will premiere simultaneously on TV stations covering more than 95 percent of the United States and BET. Representatives of the BET Networks have stated “After two solid quarters of growth at BET, we’re thrilled that “˜The Wendy Williams Show’ will be joining our line-up in July to strengthen the network’s momentum,” said Barbara Zaneri, Executive Vice President Programming Strategy, Scheduling and Acquisitions, who negotiated the deal for BET Networks.
On November 19, 2009, the producer announced to the studio audience that the show was confirmed to continue through the 2011-12 season. This information was not announced during the filming of that day’s show, only the in- house audience received the news. It was also stated that the show was ranking in the 3rd spot out of 14 with female hosts who are considered competition. The show is currently performing best in the New York City market
7 Walt “Baby” Love
My initial experience with Walt “˜Baby’ Love was not a good one. I had been fired from my PD gig in Denver in 1991 and I was a regular reporter to R&R and I called him and asked if he had heard about any PD gigs. He said “What the fook do y’all think I am a god damn employment agency” (lol). I don’t think I ever said two words to him after that.
Bio on Walt
For over 35 years Walt “˜Baby’ Love has continued to bring his own unique blend of Christian faith, inspirational personal experiences and motivation to millions of listeners each week. He currently hosts three uplifting radio programs ““ The Urban AC Countdown, Gospel Traxx, Making It Happen and the Countdown with Walt Baby Love, which reached its 25th year on the air in August 2007. Walt is heard on over 200 radio stations.
“If you put your faith in God, trust Him and do your part, God will do his part ““ making a significant difference in your life. He has certainly made a change in mine.” These words are the philosophy that Walt follows on a daily basis.
Walt calls Creighton, Pennsylvania home, having grown up on a farm in this small town near Pittsburgh. After graduating from high school, Walt enlisted in the U.S. Army and soon became a paratrooper. He served two tours of duty as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, spending time in Southeast Asia, specifically northeast Thailand, before being reassigned back to his native Pennsylvania. Walt achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant before being honorably discharged from the Army in 1967.
He got his first job as a part-time on-air personality at WWGO radio, located in Erie, Pennsylvania while still on active duty. Walt landed his big break at KYOK radio, which serves the Houston, Texas metropolitan area. He later became the first Black broadcaster at Top 40′s Powerhouse KILT radio and was the first Black employed by the Lin Broadcasting chain.
Within two years, Walt became the first Black on-air talent at RKO radio, hosting programs at both CKLW radio, located in the Canadian providence of Windsor, Ontario, and WOR FM located in New York City. Additionally, during his 30+ years in radio, he has held on-air positions at WNBC, WBLS and 99X, located in New York City as well as KHJ, KMPC and KFI Los Angeles.
In addition to being an on-air personality in the radio industry, Walt was an Operations Manager at Chicago’s WVON AM and its sister FM station and has worked at KGFG/KKBT and KUTE 102 FM of Los Angeles. In addition to working at radio stations, Walt has also worked at Radio & Records newspaper where he was the Urban Radio and Music editor for 21 years.
He was ordained in the ministry at the First House of Prayer, located in Chicago, in June 1997. He was later ordained as a Deacon in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) denomination at FAME, First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles. In 2003, Walt earned the designation of local elder in the AME Church and today, he is an associate minister at FAME. He earned a Master of Arts degree in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary located in Pasadena, California.
Walt currently resides in metropolitan Los Angeles with his wife Sonya and son Stephan. He and his wife also manage the Walt and Sonya Love Lupus and Cancer Research Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization created to raise monies in finding a cure for lupus and cancer.
8 Doug Banks
The Philadelphia-born, Detroit raised Banks began his radio career broadcasting on his high school’s radio station. Local station WDRQ took notice of his talent and offered him a spot as a temporary late-night weekend disc jockey for a country station. After high school, he managed to turn his temporary trial into a permanent multi-year gig at KDAY in Los Angeles, California.
He then moved on to the LA station KFI, which helped to pave the way to a morning show slot in Las Vegas at KLAV-AM. Doug’s next two stops were KDIA in San Francisco and WBMX (now WVAZ) in Chicago, Illinois. From 1986 to 1994, Banks did nights then a morning show for WGCI-FM.
Next, the ABC Radio Network offered Banks the opportunity to do a nationally syndicated show. The Doug Banks Morning Show, hosted by Banks along with DeDe McGuire, rose to become one of the top-rated syndicated urban programs in America. In January 2008, the show was cancelled, but Banks relaunched the show this time in the afternoon drive under the new name The Ride with Doug and DeDe in the process. Unlike his previous show that played Mainstream Urban/Hip Hop/R&B music, Doug’s current program is aimed at the Urban Adult Contemporary audience. Banks later moved his show to American Urban Radio Networks in July 2010.
Banks most recent work was as host on some editions on NASCAR Now on ESPN2.
He also made a guest appearance on the sitcom My Wife and Kids as Tom Miller, a friend of Michael Kyle (Damon Wayans) who is tragically killed after being hit by a taxi (offscreen). The death of Tom makes Michael paranoid and overly sensitive about his own life.
#9 Gary Byrd
Another great jock from my hometown of Buffalo, N.Y. Gary Byrd was friends with my former babysitter Barbara Smith and her husband former Buffalo Bill the late Allen Smith. Gary used to give Barbara promotional singles and albums back in the day and I only knew what they were because they were always black and white labels. I know O.J. Simpson was over Barbara’s and Allen’s all the time and I believe Gary was too but I was too young to remember him. Gary catapulted his career beyond radio and did what DJs did back in those days, he became a recording artist. I found this single by him from 1983 it’s VERY long (lol). The beat reminds me of Chic and it was made when rap delivered a positive message, something that would probably be deleted from a programmer’s computer today (lol). The single “The Crown” was a smash in the UK but failed to chart in the states. It was produced by Stevie Wonder.
I could find no bio info on Gary Byrd online, I emailed him and have not heard back from him yet. Once I get info, I will post.
10 Herb Kent
Herb Kent is an urban radio pioneer. He is a voice of the community, a father, a friend, and a living history lesson. To many Chicagoans, Herbert Rogers Kent, the Cool Gent, The King of the Dusties and The Honorary Mayor of Bronzeville stands for all these things and more. As one of the most important figures in Chicago radio history, Herb Kent has not only been able to entertain and inform listeners on his weekly radio show, he has also opened up many doors for African Americans. Simply put, Herb Kent is a Chicago treasure and a bankable commodity.
Growing up on the South Side of Chicago in the Ida B. Wells housing community, a young Herb Kent displayed an early interest in radio when as a teenager; he built radio equipment, including his own set of microphones, from surplus World War II parts. Kent’s strong desire to learn as much as he could about the radio industry was eventually realized at the age of 16 when he was accepted into the highly competitive WBEZ Radio Workshops. From his early start at WBEZ, Kent went on to join a local community theater group known as the Skyloft Players. Young and eager to learn, Herb performed on stage and soon realized that many of the skills required to be a successful stage actor applied to radio as well. Kent’s early theatrical training would later help develop such popular radio characters as, “The Wahoo Man,” “Gym Shoe Creeper,” and “The Electric Crazy People.” “I brought theater of the mind to radio,” says Kent.
In 1949, Kent received his first paid radio job at WGRY in Gary, Indiana for $35 dollars a week. WGRY at that time had only two radio personalities. With Herb being one of two DJs, he was able to learn every aspect of putting a radio show together from producing, writing, and interviewing, to polishing his own on-air presence on twelve-hour shifts, seven days a week.
Back in the fifties, Herb Kent’s first fan club was formed and the nickname, Cool Gent was born. Around that same time Herb coined the term, “dusty records” to describe old-time favorite hits. “The dust in the grooves makes them crackle,” said Kent.
Throughout his radio career working at stations like, WVON and WJJD, Herb Kent has interviewed many of today’s music legends including, Duke Ellington, Smokey Robinson, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, and Marvin Gaye just to name a few. Kent even gave career advice to a young man with his own dreams for success in the entertainment industry, Soul Train creator Don Cornelius.In addition to his accomplishments as a radio personality, Kent has been an active community and civil rights leader. He has spent many years serving as a role model to the African American community by encouraging young people. “Stay in school and avoid gang involvement, that was my theme, “ stated Kent.
In the 1960′s, during the height of the civil rights movement, Herb hosted a program with Stevie Wonder, for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last visit to Chicago. Ironically, it was also Kent who after the assassination of Dr. King, took to the airwaves to calm rioters on Chicago’s West Side in the late 60s. For his many years of service and dedication to the community, the City of Chicago has bestowed numerous honors upon Kent, among them, a street named in his honor, “Herb Kent Drive” and Honorary Mayor of Bronzeville.
In 1995, he was inducted into the Museum of Broadcasting’s, Radio Hall of Fame.In the late 90′s Kent ventured into local television as the host of the popular dance show called, “Steppin’ At Club Seven”, later to be renamed “The New Dance Club.”
Today, despite a very busy and sometimes hectic broadcast schedule hosting two highly rated shows on WVAZ FM, Herb shows no sign of slowing down. Kent is a contributing writer for N’DIGO Magazine, and lectures to communication students at Chicago State University.
So what’s new for the millennium? Learning digital music formats, new computer skills, and taking the world of Herb Kent on the internet with the creation of his own new web site in the near future, just to name a few. Looking back over his incredible life and broadcast career, Kent says, “Radio has sustained me, and has really brought me through some hard times. It has been a rock for me; it’s the love of my life.”