NBC (1968–1971) CBS (1972–2005) ABC (2006–present)
The Country Music Association Awards, also known as the CMA Awards or CMAs, are presented to country music artists and broadcasters to recognize outstanding achievement in the country music industry. The televised annual presentation ceremony features performances and award presentations by popular country music artists, with occasional appearances from pop and rock artists.
The first CMA awards were presented at an untelevised ceremony at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in 1967; the Entertainer of the Year award that night went to Eddy Arnold. The second annual CMA awards were presented in October 1968; NBC taped the ceremony and televised it a few weeks later. Since then, the awards have been televised live, usually in October or November, by NBC from 1969 through 1971, by CBS from 1972 through 2005, and by ABC beginning in 2006. Starting in 1968 they were held at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry (initially at Ryman Auditorium, and from 1974 through 2004 at the new Grand Ole Opry House).
Prior to 2017, the awards were generally held on the first Wednesday in November. However, since then the awards have been rescheduled for later in the month to avoid conflict with a possible game seven of Major League Baseball’s World Series, since the 2016 ceremony aired the same night as Fox’s eventual telecast of game seven of the 2016 Series, which beat the CMA Awards in the ratings.
Albums and songs released between July 1 of the previous calendar year and June 30 of the award show's year are eligible for consideration. More than 7,300 individuals from the Country Music Association trade group vote for the nominees and winners through three rounds of balloting.
Annual awards are given in the following twelve categories: Entertainer, Male Vocalist, Female Vocalist, New Artist (previously known as the Horizon Award until 2008), Vocal Group, Vocal Duo (introduced in 1970), Single, Album, Song, Musical Event (split off from the Vocal Duo award in 1988 as Vocal Event), Music Video (introduced in 1985), and Musician. The distinction between the Duo and Event awards is that the former is presented to two artists who normally perform together, while the latter was specifically created to honor one-off collaborations. Nine awards are also given to radio broadcasters for Station of the Year and Personality of the Year (divided into four categories each, based on market size), as well as National Personality of the Year to the host of a nationally syndicated show. Since 2012, the ceremony features a Lifetime Achievement Award.