First-Ever Innovation In Music Awards Honor Country’s Best.

The inaugural Innovation in Music Awards were presented Tues. (June 6) at a ceremony that took place at The Westin Nashville. Awards were presented to radio executives, program directors, talent and label execs in the country music format “who have played a critical role in the development and advancement of the music industry.” Rascal Flatts bassist Jay DeMarcus hosted.

Cumulus Media executive VP, Content & Programming, Mike McVay, received the Heritage Award at the ceremony. Syndicated country radio morning personality Bobby Bones took home the award under the National Radio category. SiriusXM Radio senior director of Country Programming J.R. Schulman was honored in the Digital Broadcast category and former radio programmer—now senior VP/Music Strategy at CMT—Leslie Fram picked up an award in the National Media category.

Innovation in Music Awards were also presented to country radio programmers in small, medium and major markets. The recipients were: Tim Roberts, CBS Radio, WYCD/Detroit—Major Market Radio; Bev Rainey, iHeartMedia, KBQI/Albuquerque—Medium Market Radio; and Kory James, Marker Broadcasting, KPLM/Palm Springs—Small Market Radio.

The “Innovator of the Year” award went to John Esposito of Warner Music Nashville, which was presented to the label exec by country music artist Brett Eldredge.

Additionally, the “Make Sh*t Happen” award—which recognizes hard-working, dedicated, forward-thinking individuals—was handed out to Gregg Swedberg of iHeartMedia KEEY Minneapolis and Tony Grotticelli of Universal Music Group.


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