Beloved music industry veteran Ed Hardy passes

Ed Hardy

Music industry veteran Ed Hardy, who served as president of the Great American Country (GAC) for eight years, died Sunday, July 31. He was 73 years old.

Hardy was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Edward B. and Rita M. Hardy. He studied communications and journalism at Kent State University and spent 20 years as an officer in the US Army Reserves, where he rose to the rank of major.

Hardy began his career working at local radio stations throughout Ohio. He spent much of the mid-1990s building Deschutes River Broadcasting from a single AM/FM radio station in Tri-Cities, Washington, to a collection of 19 stations, operating in Pacific Northwest markets. When he sold his radio group, it led to the growth of Citadel Radio.

In 2000, Hardy became president of MeasureCast, the Internet streaming audience measurement company. He was also a consultant for MediaBlue/Nox Solutions, the leading provider of website design, hosting and runtime products for national and network radio show hosts.

Hardy became president of GAC in 2004 when Scripps Networks acquired the network. During his eight years at GAC, he led the network through a move to Nashville and oversaw a complete brand transformation. He announced his retirement in 2012.

Pictured (LR): Troy Tomlinson, Sarah Trahern, Ed Hardy. Photo: Courtesy of CMA

Hardy was a very involved Music Row executive. He served on the CMA Board of Directors from 2005 to 2017 and the CMA Foundation Board from 2014 to 2021. Hardy also served as the CMA’s interim CEO in 2013, as well as chairman of the board of WO Smith Community Music School in Nashville. He also found time to spend five years as a reserve policeman.

Hardy was the current chairman of Music City Inc. (the board of directors of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp Foundation). He was also an active participant in Operation Song, which links his military experience to his passion for music.

He received the CMA President’s Award in 2013 for his outstanding service to the organization. In 2014, he received the President’s Award from the Country Radio Hall of Fame.

Ed Hardy is survived by his wife Kim Susan Hardy; daughter Stephanie (Hardy) Kasbrick and son-in-law Jacob Kasbrick; grandchildren Emmie Jeanne and Bear Weller; and his cousins ​​Patrick M. Hardy, Thomas A. Hardy, Catherine A. Hardy, and John J. Hardy.

Of Hardy’s death, CMA CEO Sarah Trahern shares, “They certainly broke the mold with Ed Hardy, and I’m very saddened by his loss. One of my favorite memories of working with Ed was when he led a coalition of us including GAC and Scripps Networks, the NCVC and the Opry to organize a national telethon to help Nashville recover from the devastating floods. of 2010. Through his dedication, passion, and refusal to take no for an answer, he did and raised millions in relief. With a relentless competitive spirit, Ed aimed high and challenged those around him to do the same. He was fiercely loyal to his friends, old and new, and had an unwavering love for country music. My deepest condolences go out to his friends and family during this difficult time. »

Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp CEO Butch Spyridon shares, “Ed Hardy has served this organization in many ways – first as a broadcast partner, then as a sponsor, then as a board member. administration, and then as chairman of the NCVC board and our foundation board. . Through this, we developed a deep friendship that transcended work. It is very unusual to have a boss, a mentor and a friend at the same time. He leaves a huge void and will be missed.

More details to come regarding a celebration of Hardy’s life taking place at the WO Smith School of Music.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his honor may be made to WO Smith School, MTSU’s Daniel’s Center and Operation Song.

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