Canadian Country Music Association

Canadian Country Music Association (Academy of Country Music Entertainment 1976-86). It was preceded by the 'Canadian Academy for Country Music Advancement' initiated in 1975 in Toronto by RPM magazine at the first Big Country Awards. ACME was chartered in March 1976 as a non-profit organization to 'promote the preservation, appreciation and development of those forms of entertainment known as country and country-oriented music' (quoted in RPM, 27 Mar 1976). The Edmonton singer and songwriter Hank Smith was founding president. CCMA membership, drawn from the performing, recording, broadcast, corporate, and managerial sectors of country music, reached 1600 by 2004.

The academy organized the first annual Country Music Week in Ottawa in conjunction with the 1977 Big Country Awards. Country Music Week has been held each September on a rotating basis in different cities. CTV began to televise the closing awards ceremonies in 1987 and it has become the premiere country music event in the country, combining performances, ateliers, and industry seminars along with the awards show.

The aim of the CCMA is to create a higher profile for Canadian country music. It sits on theadvisory board of CARAS (Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) and is involved in the sponsorship of country artists for the Juno Awards. The CCMA acts as a lobbying group to government at all levels. In 1987 it was instrumental in convincing the Government of Canada to recognize the month of September as "Country Music Month" in Canada.

The CCMA established the Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMAwards) in 1982. Nominations for the awards are supplied by the CCMA membership. Initially CCMA awards were given in eight categories: entertainer, single, album, song, female and male vocalist, group, and 'rising star' of the year. Awards were added for duo of the year in 1983 and for 'top-selling' album in 1984. A 'fans' choice' entertainer-of-the-year and video of the year awards were introduced in 1990. In 2001 awards were established for independent artists and for many new music-industry categories including broadcasting.

The academy also established the National Talent Contest in 1978 (renamed the Bud Country Talent Search in 1988) and the Hall of Fame in 1984. The Hall of Fame recognizes a long-term contribution to the growth and development of Canadian country music. Winners and inductees have been announced during Country Music Week. Wilf Carter, Tommy Hunter, William Harold Moon, and Orval Prophet were the first Hall of Honor inductees in 1984, followed by Hank Snow and Don Messer (1985), Papa Joe Brown (1986), Lucille Starr (1987), Jack Feeney (1988), Ian Tyson, Earl Heywood and Don Grashey (1989), Ron Sparling and Gordie Tapp (1990), The Rhythm Pals (1991), Carroll Baker (1992), Ward Allen, Stu Phillips, Bob Nolan, Stu Davis (1993), Dick Damron (1994), Gene MacLellan (1995), Myrna Lorrie (1996), Family Brown (1997), Ray Griff (1998), Ronnie Prophet (1999), Colleen Peterson (2000), Gordon Lightfoot (2001), Anne Murray (2002), and Sylvia Tyson (2003).

The CCMA distributes a "Humanitarian Award" that recognizes an outstanding contribution in support of humanitarian causes through country music. Recipients include Wayne Rostad (1989), Gary Fjellgaard (1990), Carroll Baker (1991), John Allan Cameron (1992), "A Song for Brent" (1993), Joan Kennedy (1995), Tom Jackson (1996), Michelle Wright (1997), Paul Brandt (1998), September 11th Benefit Concert (2002), and Say Hay! Benefit Concerts (2003).

The Hank Smith Award of Excellence was awarded to Maryanne Gibson in 2003 in recognition of behind-the-scenes initiatives for the advancement of Canadian country music. The Leonard T. Rambeau International Award honours individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary ability in assisting the aims of the CCMA on the international scene. Recipients include Jo Walker Meador (1988), George Hamilton IV (1989), Kees de Haan (1990), Bart Barton (1991), Tony Migliore (1991), Tim Dubois (1992), CTV Television Network (1993), Leonard T. Rambeau (1995), Paul Corbin (1996), Bob Saporiti (1997), Jeff Walker (1998), Ralph Murphy (1999), Sheila Copps (2000), and David Ross (2003).

In 1990 the CCMA inaugurated the Country Talent Development Fund to promote Canadian country music talent. It helps fund different initiatives of the CCMA including the CCMA's source guide - "The Book" - which contains thousands of listings of Canadian country music contacts. The fund also contributes to grants offered by the CCMA through its Canadian Tour Support Program, which was launched in 1997 to support domestic touring activities by Canadian country musicians. It also provides professional development support for rising talents in the industry through its sponsorship of Showcases and a Songwriters' Café at the Country Music Week.

Jack Feeney was named CCMA's first executive director in 1986, when a permanent office was established in Toronto. He was succeeded by Sheila Hamilton in 1990. Hank Smith was followed as president by Dave Charles 1977-9, Feeney 1979-80, Peter Grant 1980-1, Gordon Burnett 1981-3, Fred King 1983-4, John Gold 1984-5, Elizabeth (Ma) Henning 1985-6, Paul A. Mascioli 1986-7, Bill Maxim 1987-8, Mascioli 1988-90, and L. Harvey Gold, as of 1990.

ACME/CCMA began publishing a newsletter, Country Music News, in 1979. It was renamed Canada Country in 1985. In 1997 it changed its name to CCMA News. It is published every three months.

Publications

Country Music in the 80s: Canadian Country Music Industry (Toronto 1988)

Flohil, Richard. It's a Country Music Life: Making a Successful Living in the Country Music Business (Woodbridge 1998)

Creative Situation: Canadian Country Music Artists (Toronto 1989)

The Canadian Country Music Association Directory (annual) 1992-2002

Country Music Week (annual) 1982 -

Flohil, Richard. So, You Want to Be a Star? (Woodbridge 1994)

Flohil, Richard. Promoting Your Own Career in Country Music (Woodbridge 1995)

Annual Report (annual ) 2000 -

The Book (annual) 2002 -