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Joel S. Rudich, Cable Entrepreneur, Dies at 85

Joel S. Rudich
Joel S. Rudich (Image credit: Rudich Family)

Joel S. Rudich, a former telecommunications executive who was CEO of the Coaxial Communications cable company in Ohio for more than a decade, died on March 5 in Florida at age 85, members of his family said. 

Joel S. Rudich

Joel S. Rudich (Image credit: Joel S. Rudich)

Described as "a cable legend," "a wonderful leader" and a great boss by former colleagues in Facebook remembrances, Rudich joined Coaxial in 1984, leaving Warner-Amex where he was a vice president. He was president and CEO of the company until Coaxial was sold to Adelphia and Insight Communications in the late 1990s, according to a career summary he prepared that was provided by his daughter, Debra Smul. He was a lifetime member of the Ohio Cable Telecommunications Association and was a key contact legislative person for the trade association NCTA in lobbying efforts with Congress. He also served on the board of the Cable Advertising Bureau; on TeleSynergy, a consortium of 12 cable companies, and for Video JukeBox Network. He maintained friendships with many people he made in the cable business, including Discovery CEO David Zaslav, Smul said.

In 2001 he joined Global Translation Inc. as a co-founder of TranslateTV, which used proprietary software to convert closed captions in programming from English into Spanish in real time.  

After assisting the Florida Homeowners Associations in two communities that he lived in, Rudich was contacted by several other communities which retained him to assist them in their cable TV contract negations, he noted in the career summary that he prepared. 

Born in The Bronx, New York, on November 13, 1936, he obtained a bachelor's degree from New York University and a master's degree from Stevens Institute of Technology and completed the two-year Executive Development Program at The Ohio State University.

His volunteer work included: Board of Director’s & Trustee, Children’s Hospital; Board of Directors, United Methodist Children’s Home, Columbus, Ohio; Board of Director’s Palm Beach County Sports Commission; Board of Directors, Lou Groza College Place Kicker Committee; math and reading tutor for underprivileged children, Palm Beach County Schools.

A huge sports fan who adopted the teams of Ohio, including the Indians and Buckeyes, Rudich's heart always remained in the Bronx, at Yankee Stadium. He loved attending several Summer and Winter Olympic Games, Super Bowls, NBA All-Star Games and the World Series, family members said. He was also a varsity basketball official for decades and a member of IABO (International Association of Approved Basketball Officials), licensed in New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Florida.

He was predeceased by his sister, Claire. He is survived by his wife, Phyllis Rudich; his three daughters, Lauren (Steve), Debra (Peter) and Karen (Erik); eight adored grandchildren and three great grandchildren. 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Spectrum 360, 414 Eagle Rock Ave, Suite 200B Attn: Development Dept., West Orange, NJ 07052 or The Friendship Circle at FCNJ.com/Donate.  ■

Kent Gibbons
Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Nexttv.com. Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.