Ed Hardy, respected music industry executive and former CMA board chairman, dies at 73


Ed Hardy, former President and Chairman of the Board of the CMA, died yesterday, July 31. He was 73 years old. A loyal member of the CMA Board of Directors from 2005 to 2017, Hardy received the CMA President’s Award in 2013 for his outstanding service to the CMA. He also served as interim CEO of CMA in 2013 and served on the CMA Foundation Board of Directors from 2014 to 2021. In 2014, he received the President’s Award from the Country Radio Hall of Fame .

Hardy began his career in the music industry working at local radio stations throughout Ohio. He then spent much of the mid-1990s building and expanding Deschutes River Broadcasting from a single AM/FM radio station in Tri-Cities, WA, to a collection of 19 stations, including eight in country format, operating on markets across the Pacific Northwest. The sale of its radio group enabled the growth of Citadel Radio. Hardy then served as President and CEO of Internet streaming audience measurement company, MeasureCast, from 2000 to 2002. He was also a consultant for MediaBlue/Nox Solutions, the leading provider of design products , hosting and running websites for nationally broadcast and networked radio show hosts.

In 2004, he took the reins as president of Great American Country (GAC), when Scripps Networks acquired GAC. He oversaw all network operations, including its transition to the Scripps Network portfolio of national television brands. The move marked his return to Scripps after a successful career as general manager of radio stations in Louisville and Denver and nine years as vice president of Scripps-owned radio properties, KUPL AM/FM in Portland, OR.

After guiding GAC through a move to Nashville and a complete brand transformation during his eight-year tenure, Hardy announced his retirement in 2012.

“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 it 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. – Sarah Trahern, CEO of the Country Music Association

Ed Hardy
Photo credit: Courtesy of Ed Hardy

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