After receiving a copy of "Burying Don Imus: Anatomy of a Scapegoat", I received "The Cool Gent: The Nine Lives of Radio Legend Herb Kent" from the distributor.
As I began to read the preface, because I'm a radio personality, I immediately appreciated that the book is written as if he's reading it to me.
"...what this book you're holding is about--the story of a little guy who wanted to be on the radio since he was a whippersnapper, finally gets in, succeeds greatly, crashes, recovers, and rises to the top of radio again..."
(I have a huge feeling that this roller coaster-of-a-ride story is going to sound very familiar to me...and give me some deja vu.)
"Be warned...this book contains adult situations, graphic language, sexual content, and strong drug and alcohol references..."
(Now, I wonder if he and I ever worked...and/or partied...together.)
As he begins the first chapter, he states that he...like me...never knew his father. And now I have a feeling that as I continue through the book I'll be seeking other incidents that I can relate to, and have experienced. He describes his lineage of having some native ancestry (as do I)...again I'm drawn to having more of a personal connection with the author than being able to just read the book. I'm not sure what my response will be if I get to the end of this book and find that we are distant cousins, or something like that...
At the age of five, he recalls what can be defined as child abuse. Before you assume what may have happened: stop...and don't. What did happen put me a little off balance, but after being aware of events that have happened to members my family (and some friends), I wasn't surprised at all. (I've always hated leaving my children with others. I have always recommened that people don't. Later in life, you might be thankful that you didn't...or regret that you did.)
Kent mentions that one Christmas he received a radio. (Every so often I remember that I did, also.) He also describes building crystal radio sets, receivers with tubes, and more. As I read his descriptions I can sense his excitement about it, and I wish I had done so. Maybe I will...
This book can elighten a lot of people about a lot of things. You can read about how things were in radio broadcasting...which may help you to understand why things now are the way there are. The path some had to take to get into radio. And what we radio personalities had to, and do, go through for our profession. Some of what we think about in regards to the craft of being a disc jockey, and personality...
Half-way through the book it is appears that rest will be filled with stories with rooted in Chicago. Which is fine...it's just that I need to prepare to expect everything upcoming might be of more interest to someone who lived in that area at that time, or now lives there.
He tells a lot of stories about artists, events, and record companies. And how they relate to his personal life. But he will not discuss his one and only marriage. Due to what has happened in my personal life around marriages and engagements, I guess I don't have a problem with that. But, I wish he would have given some information about why he didn't want to talk about it: I guess I don't need the details, but how about an idea about why he won't reveal any details? (For example, there are details I don't want to share because it could involve others in legal problems that they have never been tied to.)
There are a lot of things that Kent writes about that I can surprisingly relate to: activities relating to personal relationships, professional stuggles that affect personal health and safety, and challenges to basic survival.
Kent has been inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for having the longest career as a DJ.
After reading the book, I found I was correct in my initial assumptions of this review: (with the exception of being in the Guiness Book of World Records) there's a lot about us that's very similar. I would love to spend a week with him and record our conversations about radio and life...where we could compare stories, and debate subjects and issues.