It was good news and bad news for RTE broadcaster Sandy Harsch when CMA Awards co-host Brad Paisley surprised Harsch with the news that she was named CMA International Broadcaster of the Year.
The good news was that she was selected. The bad news was that the award was held up in Customs and didn’t make it to the presentation backstage at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin. Paisley, who is CMA’s reigning Entertainer of the Year, had a lot of fun presenting the truant trophy during an interview for RTE before he took to the stage for his first show in Ireland last week.
“I never could figure out why people cried when they won awards, but now I know,” Harsch said. “The CMA International Broadcaster Award is certainly the biggest thing that has ever happened to me, other than having my two children. And – does anyone really deserve getting an award for doing something they absolutely love?”
After moving to Ireland from the US in 1960 Harsch worked as a freelance photo-journalist in music retail and wholesale and then as chief photographer, record reviewer, and interviewer for Hot Press magazine. She got her start in radio at RTE as a guest critic with Pat Kenny on “Outside Track” and worked regularly as a panelist, critic, and producing feature items. She moved onto the independent nationwide station Century Radio presenting The Country Store in 1989 and then presented a syndicated show on nine local stations. In 1996 she rejoined RTE and started presenting “Country Time.” Fifteen years later she is still presenting the show, which is heard nationwide. She has interviewed many of the top Country artists including Dierks Bentley, Merle Haggard, Martina McBride, and Sugarland.
Harsch has served as the editor of the Lonesome Highway magazine for nine years, written touring program notes for Kris Kristofferson, and for Ireland’s Midland Country Festivals.
“Country Music has been a huge part of my life since I was a kid,” she said. “I have been sharing this passion on air for 22 years and I am totally honoured that the CMA thinks I am doing a good job. Country is a wonderful part of my life and it is knockout to be given an award. Thank you so, so much.”
Harsch’s “Country Time” can also be heard at www.RTE.ie/radio1/countrytime.
The CMA International Broadcaster Award recognizes outstanding achievement by radio broadcasters outside the United States who have made important contributions toward the development of Country Music in their country. Previous winners are listed at CMAworld.com.