CMA Awards History

In 1967, Country legend Eddy Arnold ascended the steps of the CMA Awards stage to claim the first-ever CMA Award for Entertainer of the Year. Arnold’s steps set forth a journey of honoring excellence – a journey that continues more than four decades and 31 Entertainers of the Year later, right up to the reigning 2012 winner, Mr. Blake Shelton.

Recognized worldwide as “Country Music’s Biggest Night™,” the CMA Awards represent the pinnacle of achievement in the Country Music industry. Each year, trophies are doled out in 12 categories, while music lovers coast-to-coast gather to celebrate America’s music.

The CMA Awards nominees and winners are determined by the more than 7,100 industry professional members of CMA, which in 1958 became the first trade organization formed to promote an individual genre of music. The first CMA Awards Banquet and Show was held in 1967. The following year, the CMA Awards was broadcast on NBC television for the first time – making it the longest running, annual music awards program on network television.

The show aired on NBC through 1971 and on the CBS Television Network from 1972 through 2005 before moving to ABC in 2006. The CMA Awards will air on ABC through 2021.