Jo Walker-Meador, former longtime executive director of the Country Music Association, reflects on three decades as one of the most influential female executives in country music in this wide-ranging 2014 interview. During her tenure, the CMA built the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 1967, created its annual awards show in 1967, and launched Fan Fair (now the CMA Fest) in 1972.
In this interview conducted by the Museum’s John Rumble and illustrated with photos, recordings, and film footage, Walker-Meador talks about her life and career in country music.
The leader of the CMA during its formative years, Walker-Meador was the CMA’s first full-time employee when she was hired in 1958, and she rose to be its executive director from 1962 to 1991. Walker-Meador is recognized in the program as the 2014 honoree of the Louise Scruggs Memorial Forum, which honors a female music industry executive who, like the late Louise Scruggs, has had an indelible impact on music.
The eighty-minute interview covers Walker-Meador’s early life (born Edith Josephine Denning) and career before working for the CMA; her rise to leadership with the CMA; the CMA’s development of the Country Music Hall of Fame honor in 1961 and the museum to house it in 1967; the launch of the CMA Awards in 1967; the development of Fan Fair in 1972; and interesting behind-the-scenes stories of her times with the CMA.
Walker-Meador retired in 1991, and was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1995.
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