Below is our official press release about receiving the Distinguished Achievement Award this year from the IBMA. Other publications and organizations are free and welcome to use it as they see fit.
Bluegrass music news website Bluegrass Today is among the 2017 recipients of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award, which recognizes those within the industry who have proven to be forerunners in their particular field, broadening the music’s recognition and accessibility.
Founded in 2011 by Terry Herd and John Lawless, Bluegrass Today is a full-service source of news and information focusing on bluegrass and acoustic string music. In addition to publishing daily news, features, and reviews, the site maintains weekly and monthly airplay charts, events listings, and an advertising directory available to artists, venues, studios, and other music professionals.
In 2004, Lawless and Brance Gillihan had begun The Bluegrass Blog, a website that highlighted bluegrass news updates, album reviews, and festival photos, among other features. Lawless and Gillihan, who also worked together creating music instruction DVDs for AcuTab Publications, were recognized for their blog with the 2007 IBMA Print Media Person of the Year Award. The blog quickly became a go-to source for music news within the bluegrass industry. However, in late 2010, Gillihan decided to pursue other ventures outside of bluegrass, leaving Lawless unsure about the future of the blog.
Around the same time, Terry Herd, founder of the Bluegrass Radio Network and host of Into the Blue, America’s largest and longest running bluegrass radio syndication, had the idea to create a website that incorporated up-to-the-minute news, advertising, directories, and a weekly radio chart, all centered around bluegrass and acoustic music. Herd reached out to Lawless, who brought his writing experience into a new partnership that became Bluegrass Today.
Herd and Lawless officially launched Bluegrass Today at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass festival in 2011. Lawless serves as content editor for the website, writing multiple stories each day and supervising a team of columnists and correspondents. As CEO, Herd manages the business side of Bluegrass Today, with a focus on marketing and sales, and coordinates data for the site’s radio airplay charts.
“We’ve seen explosive growth in online readership since Bluegrass Today launched nearly six years ago,” Herd says. “Currently, some 85,000 viewers visit the site each month. The site’s audience views more than 2.75 million pages of current and historical information each year. Moreover, nearly 50 percent of our readership occurs on mobile devices. We’re honored to be the provider of quality news and information to the bluegrass community in all 196 countries across the globe, wherever they live or travel and whenever they want it.”
Being recognized with a Distinguished Achievement Award is an honor for both Herd and Lawless. “There is never a greater tribute than one that comes from your peers in the industry where you work,” Lawless says. “Seeing some success in bluegrass and being recognized by the IBMA in this way is more than I ever expected to achieve.”
The Distinguished Achievement Awards will be presented at the IBMA Special Awards Luncheon, held on September 28 at 11:00 a.m. during the association’s annual business conference and festival in Raleigh, NC. For more information about the awards, visit www.ibma.org/awards.