Billboard Journalist Tom Roland Receives 2018 CMA Media Achievement Award

Country Music Hall of Fame Member Bill Anderson Surprises Roland Backstage at “The 52nd Annual CMA Awards”

NASHVILLE—Billboard journalist Tom Roland was presented with the CMA Media Achievement Award backstage Wednesday, Nov. 14 during “The 52nd Annual CMA Awards” at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Country Music Hall of Fame member and three-time CMA Awards winner Bill Anderson addressed journalists during the CMA Awards press conference, surprising Roland with the honor.

In presenting the 37th recipient with the award, Anderson said to press conference attendees, “Even the pros look to Tom Roland. He’s one of Country Music’s bedrock authorities.”

“At every significant juncture in my life, some song was there to act as comfort, to punctuate the joy or to assure me that I wasn’t entirely alone,” said Roland. “Music is really important, and to get an award for simply trying to convey little pieces of how it works—or how it’s made and marketed—is awesome. And surprisingly meaningful. Much appreciation for this!”

After writing about Country Music for more than 35 years, Roland is one of the genre’s most trusted experts. For the last eight years, he’s worked as the editor and lead writer for Billboard’s weekly newsletter, Billboard Country Update.

Roland spent seven years as the senior music writer for Nashville’s daily newspaper, The Tennessean, wrote thousands of hours of network radio programs for Westwood One and the United Stations Radio Networks, and compiled credits in The Hollywood ReporterThe Orange County RegisterCountry Music magazine, Country Weekly and, among others. He spent four years as the music consultant for CMT’s game show, “The Singing Bee,” and he’s authored two books—The Billboard Book Of Number One Country Hits and the Diamond Rio autobiography Beautiful Mess: The Story Of Diamond Rio. Roland also contributed to a Country Music Foundation reference book, The Encyclopedia of Country Music.

Perhaps the most important piece of his career puzzle is, the Ultimate Country Music Database. With 60,000 events from Country Music history catalogued, it’s an ever-growing resource that’s frequently used by Nashville journalists as a key fact-checking source.

The CMA Media Achievement Award recognizes outstanding achievements in the media as they relate to Country Music. Print and Internet journalists, columnists, authors, and editors; television writers, producers and bookers; and syndicated radio reporters are eligible to win this award.

A task force of industry publicists nominates a slate of five candidates for consideration by CMA member publicists. The publicists select the winner, which is presented to the CMA Awards and Recognition Committee and then approved by the CMA Board of Directors.

Past winners of the CMA Media Achievement Award include:

1982 Jack Hurst

1983 Neil Hickey

1984 Dolly Carlisle

1985 Red O’Donnell

1986 No Award

1987 David Zimmerman

1988 Robert K. Oermann

1989 Bob Claypool

1990 Dick Heard

1991 No Award

1992 Mark McEwen

1993 Lynn Lester

1994 Judy Massa

1995 Clay Smith

1996 Tisi Aylward

1997 Jay Orr

1998 Chet Flippo

1999 Hazel Smith

2000 Neil Pond

2001 Harry Chapman

2002 Jim Patterson

2003 Denise Quan

2004 Alanna Nash

2005 Mark Bracco

2006 Donna Hughes

2007 Storme Warren

2008 Monica Escobedo

2009 Cynthia Sanz

2010 Beville Darden

2011 Ashley Dvorkin

2012 Jennifer Meyer and Ray Sells

2013 Deborah Evans Price

2014 Chuck Dauphin

2015 Cindy Watts

2016 Beville Dunkerley and Joe Hudak

2017 Brittany Schreiber

Billboard journalist Tom Roland is presented with the 2018 CMA Media Achievement Award by Country Music Hall of Fame member and three-time CMA Awards winner Bill Anderson backstage during “The 52nd Annual CMA Awards” press conference Wednesday, Nov. 14 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena