NASHVILLE, TN — Ed Hardy, respected music industry executive and influential leader, passed away on July 31, 2022. He was 73.
Born in October 1948 in Cleveland, OH, to Edward B. and Rita M. Hardy, Ed Hardy was a beloved husband, father, leader and mentor. He graduated from Kent State University in 1971 where he studied communications and journalism.
A dedicated contributor to the growth and expansion of the music industry, Hardy began his career working at local radio stations throughout Ohio. He went on to spend much of the mid-1990s building Deschutes River Broadcasting from a single AM/FM radio in Tri-Cities, WA, to a collection of 19 stations, operating in markets across the Pacific Northwest. The sale of his radio group let to the growth of Citadel Radio. Hardy then served as President and CEO of the internet-streaming broadcast audience measurement company, MeasureCast, from 2000-2002. He was also a consultant to MediaBlue/Nox Solutions, the top provider of web design, hosting and fulfillment products for nationally syndicated and network radio talk show hosts.
In 2004, Hardy took the reigns as President of Great American Country (GAC), when Scripps Networks acquired GAC. The move marked his return to Scripps after a successful career as a general manager of stations in Louisville and Denver and nine years as Vice President of the Scripps-owned radio properties, KUPL AM/FM in Portland, OR. After guiding GAC through a move to Nashville and a complete brand transformation over his eight-year tenure, Hardy announced his retirement in 2012.
Active in the Nashville community, Hardy was the current Chairman of Music City Inc. (the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp Foundation Board) and active with Operation Song. His work with Operation Song married his experience with the military, 20 years as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves where he attained the rank of Major, and his passion for music. Hardy loyally served on the Country Music Association (CMA) Board of Directors from 2005-2017 and received the CMA Chairman’s Award in 2013 for his outstanding service to CMA. He served from 2014 – 2021 on the CMA Foundation Board as well. He acted as president of the Board of Directors at W.O Smith Community Music School in Nashville and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation. He also served as interim CEO of the Country Music Association in 2013. Hardy was also a member of his alma mater, Bedford High School’s Hall of Fame in his hometown of Bedford, OH.
In 2014, he was honored with the President’s Award from the Country Radio Hall of Fame.
Hardy also spent five years as a reserve police officer.
Hardy is survived by his wife, Kim Susan Hardy, Jacob and Stephanie (Hardy) Kasbrick (son in law and daughter) and grandchildren Emmie Jeanne and Bear Weller and cousins Patrick M Hardy (Las Vegas), Thomas A. Hardy (Saco, ME), Catherine A. Hardy (Bedford, OH) and John J. Hardy (Bedford, OH).
More details to come regarding a celebration of Hardy’s life to be held at the W.O. Smith School of Music.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Hardy’s honor can be made to WO Smith School, Daniel’s Center at MTSU, and Operation Song.