(CelebrityAccess) — Kal Rudman, a former DJ and founder of the radio industry trade publication FMQB, died on November 30. He was 91.
His death was announced by Deane Media Solutions, which acquired FMQB from Rudman in 2020. DMS also announced that Rudman’s wife of 63 years, Lucille Rudman, died two days after he did on December 2nd.
“I personally worked with Kal and Lucille for a good portion of my career during my FMQB tenure and have always had the fondest and warmest relationship with both of them. Kal was, in the truest sense, a legend and an original. He was an innovator, a scholar, and a very generous humanitarian. Kal & Lucille always cared for people, supported numerous industry pros during their active years, and many of us owe them a career debt of gratitude for the genuine care, concern, contribution and opportunity they provided all of us throughout our industry,” said Fred Deane, founder of DMS.
With a career spanning more than 6 decades, Rudman studied education while attending University of Pennsylvania, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1951 and subsequently working as a special educator before he landed a role as a top 40 DJ at WCAM in Camden.
He later parlayed his success at WCAM into a role at Philadelphia’s WDAS, a prominent African-American focused station in the market, and later at Billboard as the publication’s first R&B Editor.
He also launched numerous publications focused on the radio industry, including Friday Morning Quarterback (FMQB), which is still regarded as essential reading for the radio industry.
Starting as a mimeographed publication aimed at AM top 40 radio programmers, the FMQB gradually expanded to include programming, management, promotion, marketing, and airplay for music formatted radio geared towards FM album oriented rock broadcasters.
“His Front Red Page was a real classic, and I would study its contents every single week all through my career in Nashville, Memphis and Atlanta, and it meant so much to me to see some guy in Peoria yelling about the phones he’s getting on a certain record. Kal was the captain of that ship. He gave several of these young programmers notoriety and respect in the record business and across the radio business. I made it a point to talk to him every week before I finalized my music, and I knew I could always get an honest read from him. He broke more records than any other publication of that era, was a true pioneer of our business, a very colorful character and networking genius to the extent that many of his methods of doing business have endured up until today. He LOVED music, plain and simple, and few had his passion to express and convey his precise forecasts of future hits. I was a big fan, he was instrumental in my career, and I loved him dearly,” said veteran DJ and longtime friend Scott Shannon.
Rudman’s ear for hits also allowed him to provide advice for artists seeking to refine their sound, including Bruce Springsteen, who credited Rudman with helping him secure his first top 40 hit in 1980 with ““Hungry Heart.”
“Kal was a man who was truly passionate about music, and he communicated that passion so enthusiastically and so colorfully. For many vibrant years, his voice was distinctively heard by everyone working in music. Kal was indeed one of a kind,” said Clive Davis.