Billboard Country Update editor Tom Roland was the recipient of the 2018 CMA Media Achievement Award presented 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 surprised Roland with the honor at the CMA Awards press conference.
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,” Roland said. “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!”
Roland has been editor and lead writer for Billboard Country Update for eight years. Previously, he spent seven years as the senior music writer for The Tennessean, wrote network radio programs for Westwood One and the United Stations Radio Networks and compiled credits in The Hollywood Reporter. He also operates RolandNote.com, a database that catalogs 60,000 events from country music history.
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.
A number of other Billboard alumni have been presented the award, including contributors Deborah Evans Price in 2013 and Chuck Dauphin in 2014.