Kal Rudman, founder of FMQB Radio Trade magazine, dies at 91
Kal Rudman, a legendary radio veteran and founder and publisher of the Friday Morning Quarterback (FMQB) radio industry “tip sheet”, died Wednesday, December 1 at the age of 91.
Just hours after his death, Lucille, his wife of 63 years, also passed away.
After Rudman’s death, music giant and longtime friend Clive Davis told former FMQB CEO and current owner of Deane Media Solutions, Fred Deane, “Kal was a man with a real passion for music. music and he communicated this passion with so much enthusiasm and color. For many vibrant years, his voice has been heard distinctly by all who work in music. Kal was truly one of a kind.
The Philadelphia-born Rudman – pictured above with the Bee Gees’ Robin and Barry Gibb – was a science professor with a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Pennsylvania before turning his first love, radio, into his business , becoming a Top 40 disc jockey in 1959 at WCAM in Camden, New Jersey with the nickname “The Round Mound of Sound”.
Eventually shifting his radio operations to Philly’s WDAS – the city’s foremost African-American music and chat station of brotherly love – and sound to soul, Rudman became known for his prowess and knowledge in everything R&B, and in the mid-1960s he was hired as the R&B editor-in-chief of Billboard magazine.
In 1968, however, Rudman left Billboard to start his own trade publication from the basement of his home with Lucille. Friday Morning Quarterback, a mimeographed and stapled large-format newspaper for programmers of 40-format AM radio stations, eventually morphed into two weekly color publications beyond R&B, one for top pop singles and l other dedicated to FM and albums. Roche, or AOR. He led it for 52 years.
Kenny Gamble, songwriter, producer and co-founder of Philadelphia International Records with Leon Huff, told Variety that Rudman’s real gift, “was being able to instinctively identify good music. He was one of the people I came to all the time to ask him what he thought of a record. He really had golden ears.
Rudman’s simple FMQB selections, often known as “Go-rillas,” have become a go-to guide for radio programmers. Bruce Springsteen even credited Rudman with helping him score his first Top 40 hit, “Hungry Heart” of the 1980s.
In record label veteran Danny Goldberg’s 2009 book, “Bumping into Geniuses: My Life Inside the Rock and Roll Business,” the author spoke of The Boss’ frustration at not having any Top 40 hits despite albums. critically acclaimed. “Kal explained to me that Top 40 radio is mostly listened to by girls and my female population is small,” Springsteen told Goldberg. “I thought about the songs from ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town'” and realized that the lyrics were really for and about guys. “
In addition to his printing businesses, Rudman has become the face of music on national television. Beginning in 1980 Rudman became a member of the on-air crew of talk show host Merv Griffin, speaking about popular music, and in 1982 Rudman began similar affiliations with the NBC Morning Show. , “Today,” and the late-night news host, Tom Snyder’s show “Tomorrow.”
The married Rudmans maintained philanthropic efforts through their Kal and Lucille Rudman Foundation, starting in the 1980s. In January 2020, after 52 years of serving the music industry, Kal retired the title Friday Morning Quarterback and sold his assets to its neighbor Deane Media Solutions, based in Cherry Hill. “For over 50 years, I have been the specialist in predicting countless hits for many artists, and have received unique recognition from the music industry not only as a creator of tastes, but also as a celebrity maker, ”Rudman told Variety upon his retirement in 2020.“ However, times have changed dramatically, along with the industry, and it was time for me to switch to my original passion, medicine.
With it, Rudman returned to where he started, in science and radio, by co-hosting “Inside Medicine,” a weekly show that airs on the Philadelphia radio stations operated by Beasley Media Group.