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CMA Awards Past and Present

Luke Bryan during the 46th Annual CMA Awards (Getty Images)

The Country Music Association Awards have come a long way since they were first presented in 1967. That first one wasn’t even televised. Eddy Arnold was named Entertainer of the Year.

The second CMA Award show the following year was taped and televised a couple of weeks later on NBC.

It wasn’t until the third one in 1969 that the CMA’s were finally shown live.

For the next three years the CMA Awards were shown on NBC until it was switched to CBS in 1972 where it stayed for the next 33 years. Since then it’s been on ABC.

The first seven CMA Award shows were at the Ryman Auditorium, then switched to the Grand Ole Opry House and finally the Bridgestone Arena.

It began as a one hour show until it was expanded to 90 minutes in 1976.

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood have hosted the show the last five years. They still have a long way to go to equal Vince Gill who hosted it 12 times.

CMA Award record holders –

  • Most Entertainer of the Year Awards – Garth Brooks and Kenny Chesney, each with 4.
  • Most Male Vocalist of the Year Awards – George Strait and Vince Gill, each with 5. For Vince they came in consecutive years.
  • Most Female Vocalist of the Year Awards – Reba McEntire and Martina McBride, each with 4.


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