How CMA Winners Can Make Better Use of Network Time

Of all human utterances, none is quite so treacherous as the thank-you speeches given by Country Music Association award winners. If the remarks are brief, they sound perfunctory. If extended, they seem calculated. Mention only a few names in gratitude, and the winner appears to be an ingrate. Mention a great many, and he or she is being “too inside” for the fans. Whatever the length and makeup of these thank-yous, they are invariably boring and forgettable. Their worst offense, however, is that they waste incredibly valuable television time.

The wise nominee will realize that 15 or 30 seconds of primetime exposure is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and should be used with great deliberation, rather than aimlessly squandered to praise managers, lawyers, publicists and other drones. Besides, the artist will almost certainly fire these support people as soon as the reality of winning the award begins to inflate his or her already bloated sense of self-worth.

In anticipation of The 34th Annual CMA Awards set for Oct. 4 on CBS, we suggest that those in serious contention for a trophy might consider using those precious network moments for any one of the following purposes (examples provided).

To endorse a product or service:

“Thank you so much. Tonight, it is a truly grateful heart that beats beneath this Versace original.”

To pay off a debt:

“I stand before you this evening fully clothed, but only because the law firm of Chafe & Corrode — with offices in Houston, Amarillo and Waco — prevented my spiteful ex-wife from snatching this one last shirt off my back.”

To settle a score:

“I dedicate this wonderful award to Teddy Blinderman at LCA Records who assured me two years ago that my career was over with. That’s him, folks, sitting back there in the third row. Stand up, Teddy, and take a bow.”

To solicit companionship:

“Wow! W-o-o-w! Am I one pumped-up cowboy! And, you know, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if there wasn’t a big ole party tonight at the Comfort Inn, Room 3 . . . 2 . . . 7.”

To announce a career shift:

“The manipulation and insincerity symbolized by this award has convinced me I should return to my old job of selling time-shares.”

To convey discontent:

“Perhaps my winning this award will enable my agent to book me at events other than apple-butter festivals and pet-spaying clinics.”

To tender a political statement:

“I am so touched by this honor that I promise I will no longer put my name on all the songs I cut simply because I’m the one with the record deal.”

To make a confession:

“In giving me this award, you have doomed me forever to sing a song that I have despised from the moment my producer talked me into recording it.”

To promote alternative viewing:

“Is all this country music beginning to set your teeth on edge? Well, you might want to take a moment now and check out the side-splitting new urban comedy on the Fox Channel.”

To re-image oneself:

“I don’t know quite what to say about winning this male vocalist award except that it makes me feel so pretty.”

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to