Steve Buchanan Honored With CMA Irving Waugh Award Of Excellence

CMA Board President Sally Williams, Irving Waugh Award of Excellence recipient Steve Buchanan and CMA Board Chairman John Esposito. Photo: Christian Bottorff / CMA

Pictured (L-R): CMA Board President Sally Williams, Steve Buchanan, and CMA Board Chairman John Esposito. Photo: Christian Bottorff / CMA

Steve Buchanan, the President of Opry Entertainment and Executive Producer of Nashville, was presented CMA’s Irving Waugh Award of Excellence today (Nov. 16) during the CMA Board of Directors’ quarterly meetings in Nashville.

The Irving Waugh Award of Excellence is awarded to an individual who is the originator and caretaker of demonstrated ideas and actions that have dramatically broadened and improved country music’s influence on a national or international level for the benefit of the industry as a whole.

“Steve is very deserving of this prestigious honor,” said John Esposito, Chairman of the CMA Board of Directors and President and CEO of Warner Music Nashville. “His development, oversight, and creative vision for the television series ‘Nashville’ has contributed to the global identity of this city, and unprecedented, primetime attention for Country Music.”

“Irving Waugh was an exceptional businessman and visionary. I am humbled and honored to receive this Award bearing his name,” Buchanan said. “My inspiration has always been fueled by my love of Country Music and my deeply-rooted passion for the Opry, the Ryman, our artists, and the extraordinary City of Nashville.”

Viewers in more than 80 countries and more than 200 TV territories throughout the world tune in each week to Nashville, the drama based in Music City and depicting country music artist characters. The show has produced 5,126 first-run hours of programming globally. After four domestic seasons on the ABC Television Network, the series is set to air its fifth season on CMT and Hulu.

Additionally, the series has offered the industry’s songwriting community opportunities for their work to be showcased weekly on network television and for subsequent inclusion in 10 soundtracks featuring music from the series. The series has launched three domestic Nashville in Concert tours as well as a 2016 inaugural international tour of the U.K. and Ireland.

Buchanan has spent more than 30 years with Opry Entertainment, where he oversees brands including Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, 650 AM WSM, and more. He began as the Opry’s first Marketing Manager, and Executor of the Opry’s first-ever advertising budget. In the years since taking the reins of all the brands under the Opry Entertainment umbrella, Buchanan oversaw the 1994 renovation and reopening of the historic Ryman Auditorium, to the launch of the satellite radio and internet broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry.

Past recipients of the CMA honor include Vince Gill (2014), Walter Miller (2009), Johnny Cash (2003), Jo Walker-Meador (1991), Frances Preston (1987), and the award’s namesake Irving Waugh (1983).

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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