Ed Hardy, Respected Music Industry Executive And Former CMA Board Chairman, Passes Away At 73


Ed Hardy, former President and Chairman of the CMA Board of Directors passed away yesterday, July 31. He was 73. Loyally serving on the CMA Board of Directors from 2005-2017, Hardy received the CMA Chairman’s Award in 2013 for his outstanding service to CMA. He also acted as CMA’s interim CEO in 2013 and served on the CMA Foundation Board of Directors from 2014-2021. In 2014, he was honored with 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 went on to spend much of the mid-1990s building and expanding Deschutes River Broadcasting from a single AM/FM radio in Tri-Cities, WA, to a collection of 19 stations, eight of which were Country-formatted, operating in markets across the Pacific Northwest. The sale of his radio group let to the growth of Citadel Radio. Hardy then served as President and CEO of the internet-streaming broadcast audience measurement company, MeasureCast, from 2000-2002. He was also a consultant to MediaBlue/Nox Solutions, the top provider of web design, hosting and fulfillment products for nationally syndicated and network radio talk show hosts.

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

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

“They certainly broke the mold with Ed Hardy, and I am greatly saddened by his loss. One of my favorite memories working with Ed was when he led a coalition of us, including GAC and Scripps Networks, the NCVC and the Opry to host a nationwide telethon to help Nashville recover from the devastating 2010 floods. Thanks to his dedication, passion and refusal to take no for an answer, he made it happen 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 friends, old and new, and carried an unwavering love of Country Music. My deepest condolences go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.” – Sarah Trahern, Country Music Association CEO 

Ed Hardy
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ed Hardy