Solomon “Kal” Rudman, 91, the South Jersey music industry insider who founded the influential radio advice sheet Friday Morning Quarterback, has died.
Rudman’s death after a long illness was confirmed by Deane Media Solutions, the company he sold FMQB to in 2020. Rudman died with his 63-year-old wife, Lucille, by his side on Tuesday at their home in Cherry Hill.
Two days later, Lucille Rudman, also 91, died, said Michael Lessner, a music business associate and longtime family friend.
Kal Rudman was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Central High School and the University of Pennsylvania. He began his music career as a late-night DJ on Top 40 station WCAM in Camden while working as a daytime science teacher, before moving to Billboard as the magazine’s rhythm and blues editor.
He began publishing FMQB as a mimeographed publication with his wife out of their Cherry Hill basement in 1968 and developed a reputation as a savvy prognosticator of pop star success, helping the careers of Hall & Oates and Whitney Houston, among others.
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Rudman was a frequent guest on the Merv Griffin Show in the early 1980s, in segments where he predicted which pop songs would turn out to be hits.
Bruce Springsteen said he visited Rudman after the release of his 1978 album “Darkness on the Edge of Town” to better understand why he was not having success on the pop charts.
“Kal explained to me that Top 40 radio is mostly listened to by girls and my female demographic was low. And I thought of the songs on ‘Darkness’ and realized that the lyrics were really for and about the guys,” Springsteen told music manager Danny Goldberg in 2009. Shortly after, Springsteen had his biggest hit yet with “Hungry Heart.”
Rudman was also known to wrestling fans as “Killer Kal” for his role as an announcer on World Wrestling Federation broadcasts from the Spectrum in South Philadelphia.
“Kal was a man who was truly passionate about music, and he communicated that passion so enthusiastically and in such a colorful way,” legendary music manager Clive Davis told Deane Media Solutions of Rudman. “For many vibrant years, his voice was distinctly heard by all who work in music. Kal was indeed one of a kind.
The Rudmans were active philanthropists through the Kal and Lucille Rudman Foundation, which supported public safety, children’s programs, and religious institutions, as well as the Rudman Institute at Drexel University and the Kal & Lucille Rudman Media. Center at Temple University, both of which focus on education. Kal Rudman received a 2011 Lew Klein Alumni Honoree from Temple, from which he held a graduate degree.