Industry legend Kal Rudman dies at 91; His wife Lucille is also deceased
Kal and Lucille Rudman (Photo: Scott Weiner)
SOLOMON “KAL” RUDMAN, the tip sheet pioneer who was a friend and advocate for everyone and everyone in the radio and record communities has passed away after a long illness. He was 91 years old.
KAL started the FRIDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK (FMQB) at his CHERRY HILL, NJ home in 1968. He was often asked why he hadn’t moved his base of operations to NEW YORK or LOS ANGELES, he always answered quickly that “the lights are bright enough at CHERRY HILL.” He and his wife and partner, LUCILLE, had spent their final years as philanthropic forces in the greater PHILADEPHIA region. In addition to his wife of 63 years, KAL is also survived by his son MITCHELL. He retired from the company in JANUARY 2020, removing the name FMQB, and himself.
KAL was a school teacher who started working in the moonlight as a SOUTH JERSEY disc jockey on WCAM-A / CAMDEN in the late 1960s. His handle was “THE ROUND MOUND OF SOUND”, and from this promising start a career was launched.
FMQB’s infamous RED FRONT PAGE was red, so its content could not be photocopied. The name FRIDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK was a take-off from MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK, with KAL’s claim that “anyone can pick the hits on MONDAY, but pick them on FRIDAY is where the action takes place. Programmers and DJs would wait until the sheet was delivered on MONDAY to find out what KAL had to say about the hits and the new arrivals. As the AOR format took hold, RUDMAN expanded to two weekly sheets, the other being dedicated to the Rock format.
ALL ACCESS President / Editor JOEL DENVER recalled: “My deepest condolences to KAL’s wife LUCILLE and the family. KAL RUDMAN was a force of nature in radio and music. When I was MD at WFIL-A / PHILADELPHIA from 1973 to 1977, I spoke to KAL every week. We were talking about music, and I would listen to him pontificating about what was new and what had happened. It was a terribly entertaining call and, despite all the hype, I learned a lot about the industry from KAL. Rest in peace KAL. “
It was not uncommon to hear KAL appear on SCOTT SHANNON’s Z100 MORNING ZOO in its prime. And their mutual affection has never been a secret. SHANNON, of course, currently hosts WCBS-F / NEW YORK AUDACY Classic Hits Matinees and remembers his friend at ALL ACCESS saying, “KAL RUDMAN was a radio and record giant. He could single-handedly break a new song or a new artist, just by talking about a new song that he thought was a … gorilla! He was colorful, funny, intelligent, and if you really knew him, he was a warm, caring human being. Now, for some people, he just wasn’t their cup of tea, but I loved this man, and learned so much from him about music, people and … just life. Thanks for everything, my friend.
There was only one way to develop the tip sheet and radio success and that was TV. KAL established a national television presence during the 1980s as a regular contributor to both NBC-TV’s “TODAY” and nationally-broadcast “MERV GRIFFIN SHOW”. Either way, the man known as “THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN EARS” would tell AMERICA which artists and songs to look for.
When ALL ACCESS Hot AC Editor-in-Chief TOM CUNNINGHAM was at WPST / TRENTON, KAL was on a weekly WEDNESDAY fixture with him on the air, broadcasting inside information about every possible artist of the day and highlighting light three “future hits” each week. CUNNINGHAM said, “Even though the show was pre-recorded, it was like walking on an electric wire without a safety net. As much as I tried to ‘direct’ the conversation, it was Follow The Leader 101. And when KAL was excited about something, all bets were off. “
CUNNINGHAM joined the FMQB staff in 1989 as radio editor, and compares his four years there to “like graduate school on steroids.” Adding, “As a baby music director and then a program director, KAL always made sure that I knew the right people and that I was in the right places. My condolences to LUCILLE and their many friends.
WHAT’S IN-STORE MUSIC, BOB CATANIA, recalls the influence KAL has had on his career: “I was fortunate enough to start my career as a local PHILADELPHIA representative for RCA and I was based in CHERRY HILL, NJ. I knew KAL RUDMAN and the FMQB, and I made a point of visiting their office a few times a week to promote KAL and his team on new music.
“I realized very quickly that KAL was giving me an incredible education… watching him listen and dissect a song to determine if it was a hit… or a gorilla as he would call it… was quite an experience. The lessons I learned from him about music and business helped me jumpstart my career. The main lessons I learned from KAL were passion and perseverance … the basic tools of any promotion manager.
“I was so delighted to be able to continue working with him on a whole new level when I became a member of the national leadership,” added CATANIA. “KAL has always been a trusted voice to help me determine what the hits are and get the word out on the radio. Anyone who knew KAL knows what a great personality he had, and it really showed when he became a spokesperson in the wrestling world. What many people don’t know is that KAL and his wife and business partner, LUCILLE, were extremely philanthropic and have given back to the community in a huge way. KAL was a pioneer in the field and its heritage as one of the greatest is secure. I am grateful that my path crossed him very early on and had the opportunity to work with him for many years. RIP KAL.
Everyone at ALL ACCESS offers their condolences to the RUDMAN family, because two days after KAL passed away, his beloved wife of 63 years, LUCILLE, also passed away. They spent a lifetime together and are now reunited.
Service information is pending.
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