By Effie Rolfe
Living full to die empty. This statement depicts the life of my former co-worker and legendary radio personality Herbert Rogers Kent who made his transition last Saturday night. What I loved most is he never stopped living his passion. At 88 years young, he continued to live his life never skipping a beat. It was so obvious that he loved what he did and did what he loved until his end. Some of Herb’s achievements included authoring an autobiography, hosting a television show titled, “Stepping.” In 2009, he was listed in the Guinness World Record as the longest running DJ on the radio for over 65 years. His career spanned 11 radio stations with the most popular stations being WVON and V103 where he worked the last three decades. The Guinness World Record also marked December 5th as Herb Kent Day presented by Mayor Richard M. Daley. He taught at Chicago State University and poured his broadcast experience into hundreds of students. One of The Good Guys, The Mayor of Bronzeville, The King of Dusties, Herbie Baby and The Cool Gent were some of the many titles he held during his career. He was also inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame, as well as the National R & B Hall of Fame.
Herb was confident and comfortable with what God had given him with a natural gift of gab. Even when challenged at a young age by a professor that admitted that although ‘he had the best voice in the class, there was no place in radio for a Negro.’ Did this stop Herb from pursuing his dream? Thankfully he was not deterred and continued 70 years strong. With the last 30 years being one of the highest rated shows on Sundays in Chicago radio. Unstoppable, Herb finished his final course gracing his listeners with musical favorites and a distinctive voice that can be stored in our memory bank for years to come —hours away from emptying his last breath.
A few weeks ago, I posed the question of how will you be remembered when you’re laid to rest. At God’s appointed time this question will become real and the answer will come based on what you did or did not do. Also, in the previous article, I talked about the dash is an indication of how well you live each day. Abraham Lincoln said, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life, but the life in your years.” Herb was full of life and died empty using what was gifted to him. He was twice blessed. Over the years, he blessed the careers of several artists while playing their music and using his voice, humor and love to bless millions of faithful listeners for 70 years with the best in Dusties. (Our thoughts and prayers are extended to his daughter Robbin and longtime girlfriend, Linda.)
Are you emptying anything worth remembering…?
©Effie Rolfe is an Author of “Supersize Your Thinking,” Media Personality and Motivational Speaker. You can contact her at effierolfe.com or on twitter.com/effiedrolfe. Listen to her show daily on urbanpraiseradio.org (2015 Stellar Award Winner for Best Internet Radio Station).