Syndicated Radio Staple ‘Truckin’ Tom Kent Has Died


Longtime syndicated radio personality Tom Kent, known for his “crusade to end boring radio,” has passed away. His Tom Kent Radio Network reached widespread syndication across the US in classic hits and adult contemporary.

Kent died on Monday morning following a battle with cancer.

Born in Winston-Salem, NC, Tom’s career took him to WLS in Chicago, KLIF in Dallas, and WIBG in Philadelphia, WIXY in Cleveland, WMXJ in Miami, WBZZ in Pittsburgh, and WAVA in Washington, DC, where he also served as Program Director.

Originally founding the TKO Radio Network in 2002 with Hall of Fame Coast to Coast, he would sell that company five years later to start the Tom Kent Radio Network. He would grow that group to feature 24 different syndicated radio products, heard on more than 600 stations nationwide.

Tom was a National Radio Hall of Fame nominee in 2015.

On the fringes of radio, Tom also worked as a promotion executive for Warner Music Group’s Elektra Entertainment where he helped the careers of several prominent artists, including Tracy Chapman, Third Eye Blind, and Missy Elliott.

All Access Enterprises President Joel Denver told Radio Ink, “Tom and I knew each other and were great friends from 1973 until his passing. He did nights for me when I was PD at WMJX (96X)/Miami in 1977-78 and he really brought his passion for radio and his love of music to the studio every day.”

“A talented and super positive individual, I watched Tom move into the record for a number of years and then return to radio to begin the Tom Kent Radio Network with a number of great shows heard on over 600 affiliates. Tom leaves behind a legacy of excellence as well as a wonderful family.”

“I will dearly miss Tom, as we spoke almost daily.”

McVay Media’s Mike McVay said, “Tom Kent was one of the most uniquely entertaining personalities I ever had the pleasure to work with, work for, and be a friend of. He and I became friends in 1982 when we launched WMJI/Cleveland. The friendship continued until this morning.”

“He was sick for a while, but that didn’t stop him from doing his daily network radio show. He told me that he felt no pain and no illness when he was on the air. That’s how much he loved this business. My heart is broken for his bride, Karen, and his children, Steven & Jackie, which followed him into the business.”

Saga Communications Portland Media Group Market President Phil Zachary said, “Tom Kent embodied everything that made me fall in love with radio. I’ll never forget the night Mike McVay, Kevin Metheny, Keith Abrams, Holland Cooke, Bob Hamilton and I drank wine in Tom’s amazing basement studio while he broadcast to stations all over North America. It was like being in radio heaven, and I know that’s where he is right now, talking up the intros and pouring every once of energy into entertaining with the power of sound. TK was truly among the last of a breed, and I’ll miss him dearly.”

Art Vuolo shared a tribute video to Kent, with footage from his basement studio and his return to WLS.

The Tom Kent Video Tribute from Art Vuolo on Vimeo.


  1. In the mid 70’s he was on 1270 KFJZ AM in Fort Worth. I walked in one night and he was wearing cutoffs, Cowboy boots, no shirt and a Cowboy hat. On his next break he was so loud in the studio it hurt my ears. That VU meter is probably still stuck far right. A few months later he was on KLIF 1190 in Dallas. Great performer. Got to know him years later. Great guy. A serious loss to the industry.


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