Solomon “Kal” Rudman, 91, the South Jersey music business insider who founded the influential radio tip 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 wife of 63 years, Lucille, by his side Tuesday at their home in Cherry Hill.
Two days later, Lucille Rudman, also 91, died, said Michael Lessner, a music business associate and longtime friend of the family.
Kal Rudman was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Central High School and the University of Pennsylvania. He started his music career as a late-night DJ on Top 40 station WCAM in Camden while working as a science teacher during the day, before going to work for Billboard as the magazine’s rhythm and blues editor.
He started publishing FMQB as a mimeographed publication along with his wife out of their Cherry Hill basement in 1968 and developed a reputation as a shrewd prognosticator of pop stars’ success, aiding the careers of Hall & Oates and Whitney Houston, among many others.
Rudman was a frequent guest on the Merv Griffin Show in the early 1980s, in segments where he would predict which pop songs would turn out to be hits.
Bruce Springsteen told of visiting Rudman after the release of his 1978 album “Darkness on the Edge of Town” to better understand why he wasn’t having success on the pop charts.
“Kal explained to me that Top 40 radio is mainly listened to by girls and that my female demographic was low. And I thought about the songs on ‘Darkness’ and I realized that the lyrics really were mostly for and about guys,” Springsteen told music exec Danny Goldberg in 2009. Soon after, Springsteen had his biggest hit to date with “Hungry Heart.”
Rudman was also known to wrestling fans as “Killer Kal” for his role as an announcer during 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 so colorfully,” legendary music executive Clive Davis told Deane Media Solutions about Rudman. “For many vibrant years, his voice was distinctively heard by everyone working 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 was awarded a 2011 Lew Klein Alumni Honoree from Temple, from which he held a graduate degree.