Rudy Ruderman, during his more than 20 years at WNEW, held quite a few different jobs, sometimes a few of them at the same time. NY Daily News Radio & TV writer Val Adams took note of this in an April 29, 1973 column, (below) prompting from WNEW GM George Duncan, a note to Rudy that years later would surface when R.R. rescued files from some cardboard boxes that had been sent adrift in a basement flood.
Those fuzzy lines cut and pasted from Adams’ column read as follows: “Rudy Ruderman, already financial editor and drama critic for WNEW, received a new appointment as news director. Maybe triple threat Rudy can give lessons to poor George Duncan, whose only title at WNEW is general manager.”
But, what did GM Duncan mean by “Goodbye”? Was Ruderman fired? No, that would come later. Rudy would be fired about eleven months later on April Fools’ Day, 1974. His successor, Dick Stapleton, would be fired a year later on April Fools’ Day, 1975. Now, back to the memo . . .as Rudy explains.
“I think all Duncan (left) meant was a cute response to Val Adams’ ‘triple threat Rudy’ line. Not only did he not imply a threat to me by saying “goodbye,” but a year later, after (new GM Carl) Brazell told me to fire and not replace all the editors, I resigned in protest. Then George, who was Metromedia President by that time, called me to say “Don’t quit, Rudy! Wait a week, and we’ll fire you, so you can get severance pay and qualify for unemployment insurance.”
George Duncan had been promoted to President of Metromedia Radio Division, after about two years as GM of WNEW-AM, following his immensely successful turn as GM of WNEW-FM between 1968 and 1971. He was replaced as the AM GM by Carl Brazell, (right) who was replaced as News Director by Ruderman, which gets us back to the memo one more time. Rudy R. goes on to say he was out of work for four months, then . . .
“. . .then, suddenly, my successor, Dick Stapleton, hired me to replace the vacationing Andy Fisher on the overnight newscaster shift Christmas week, then to do weekend mornings, and Bill Scott gave me weekend overnights at WINS, and Bob Kimmel hired me as a producer at NBC Radio net. From there, as you know, I moved over to NBC’s NIS (News and Information Service) as Business Correspondent when Bob Dallos left. Among my most satisfying memories there was working with you and Cameron Swayze. I also remember getting a heart attack on Ash Wednesday in ’77, a couple of months before the all-news network went kaput.”
NBC’s NIS, sadly, did go kaput, but R.R., happily, did not. E.C.B.
George Duncan photo by Claude Hall
Carl Brazell photo by Dan Barrett