Philanthropic Cherry Hill couple, Kal and Lucille Rudman, die two days apart

Broadcast pioneer supported budding media students at Temple’s Klein College
Kal and Lucille Rudman
Kal and Lucille Rudman Photo credit Kal and Lucille Rudman Foundation

SOUTH JERSEY (KYW Newsradio) — Lucille and Kal Rudman of Cherry Hill, well known for their philanthropy, have died just a couple of days apart from one another.

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Solomon “Kal” Rudman became known as a legendary music insider through the magazine Friday Morning Quarterback, which he founded in 1968.

He had also worked for Billboard Magazine, became the resident music expert on NBC’s “Today Show,” and led crowds as an announcer — known as “Killer Kal” — for what was then the World Wrestling Federation.

Lucille Rudman started her career as a teacher before managing their publishing and philanthropic work.

Both Kal and Lucille Rudman grew up in working-class families and achieved great success in the radio industry. He was known as “the man with golden ears” for his uncanny ability to predict which songs and artists would land on top of the charts.

Kal Rudman died on Tuesday at the age of 91 after a long illness. Deane Media Solutions, which bought Friday Morning Quarterback last year, reported that Lucille died suddenly after her husband — on Thursday — also at the age of 91.

It may sound like hyperbole to say the couple shared one heart, but for more than 60 years of marriage, they were rarely apart.

And over that time, the Rudmans gave millions of dollars to support people and issues important to them. Their philanthropic reach touched members of local police and fire departments as well as other civic causes.

But it was their passion for education that kept them ticking, according to Temple University professor Paul Gluck, where the next generation of reporters and content producers study at the Kal and Lucille Rudman Media Center.

“What Kal and Lucille did for our students was extraordinary in the sense that it gave them the opportunity to experience things that helped them learn and grow,” said Gluck, who leads Temple University Television at the Klein College of Media and Communication. “With their support, we covered the London Olympics. With their support, we covered the political conventions in Philadelphia.”

Over the years, the Kal and Lucille Rudman Foundation gave nearly $4 million to Temple for media programs and scholarships.

Gluck said he would often speak to the Rudmans over the phone — usually after midnight because they were night owls — and they would always ask about the kids.

“The first question was always, ‘What are you doing with the students this month? What’s going on? What projects are they working on? What are they learning?’ ” he recalled.

Kal Rudman got his start in broadcasting as a teen, according to Temple. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and then from Temple’s College of Education. Afterward, he became a Top 40 radio DJ at WCAM in Camden while simultaneously working as a science teacher.

“Their legacy will be not in the buildings with their names on it and not in plaques in the den at their house,” Gluck said, “but it will be in the young people they helped.”