A Life That Knows No Boundaries
The life of Judy Massa has always been an international one, from the time of her birth to today. She has known no boundaries, neither in her life nor her career. That's why her role as an international radio & television personality simply reflected the person she is and her love of the world she knows.
Judy comes from a musical family, where music of all genres was performed and appreciated. She was born of American parents in the Republic of Panama port city of Colon. Panama is known as the Crossroads of the World where ships from around the globe gather to transit the Canal.
Growing up in Panama and the Canal Zone provided her with a knowledge and interest in world cultures.
Judy graduated from Balboa High School in Balboa, Canal Zone, and was named its "Outstanding Girl Graduate." She set the direction for her life at the time she entered college. The foundation of her future was created when she graduated cum laude from DePauw University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree (with majors in English, Spanish, and Communications). During her last two years there, she took her first steps into the radio world by serving as Vice President of the University radio station WGRE.
Her introduction to the international aspects of broadcasting occurred when she served as an intern at the Voice of America the summer before her last year of college. After she graduated, she started work for VOA as a regular staff member, albeit one with special talents. She first served as a studio director for broadcasts to Latin America in Spanish and Portuguese. As a result of her outstanding programming of music for that region of the world, she was selected as the Popular Music Specialist at the Voice of America. She wrote radio scripts about American music trends and artists ranging from Billy Joel to Henri Mancini. 1984 brought important advancements in Judy's career; she became the host of VOA's Country Music USA radio program and was also named the first VOA Music Director. In 1996, she conceived international broadcasting's first worldwide music call-in show called Border Crossings.
Judy has held responsibilities at virtually every level of the organization, gaining valuable experience in management, public affairs, diplomacy, and government relations, as well as an in-depth knowledge of the broadcast and music industries. She has visited and traveled in more than 30 countries.
Music accounts for 10 percent of VOA's programming. Before Judy took over, the majority of music broadcasts consisted of the current "Top Ten" records of various genres. She decided to represent more of the diversity of America by presenting a greater variety of music. The programs on the international network now showcase a cross-section of musical styles.
HER RESPONSIBILITIES AS VOA MUSIC DIRECTOR
As Music Director for the Voice of America and its radio network that broadcasts to every country in the world, Judy oversaw and coordinated the coverage of all genres of music: classical, jazz, pop, rock, country, folk, world, etc.
She was responsible for the following administrative duties:
- oversee and coordinate music programming for VOA's 52 language services
- direct the work of a staff which produces scripts and shows about music, performers, and the entertainment industry.
- serve as the primary music information resource for the entire VOA organization. As such, she provided information, guidance and advice, support, and instruction on all genres of music.
- assure that VOA broadcasting needs are met through the Music Library, which contains over 25,000 CDs and 150,000 vinyl record albums. It's an invaluable collection of music dating back to 1942. The Library's collection contains every conceivable type of music.
HER ROLE AS A RADIO & TV PERSONALITY
Judy's background launched a career in international broadcasting and journalism that gave her the chance to do many things:
- Produce, write, and host 2 international music programs that are broadcast worldwide: Border Crossings and Country Music USA.
- Serve as correspondent providing taped and live on-air coverage of noteworthy music events. Some of her coverage included annual award shows (Grammys, Country Music Association Award Shows, Academy of Country Music Awards. etc.) and special events such as Live Aid, Farm Aid(s), Hands Across America, Charlie Daniels’, Volunteer Jam Concerts, International Fan Fairs, etc.
- Provide technical broadcast support, and serve as liaison with artists and their management, event management, label executives, and national and international media.
- Handle special assignments, including emceeing overseas entertainment tours, public appearances, and public relations activities.
- Maintain extensive contact with radio listeners worldwide.
JUDY'S SHOWCASE OF TALENT
TALK SHOW HOST Judy’s role as a talk show host gave her the opportunity to meet and interview most of the musical stars and industry movers & shakers in the world. Her mission for every program was to give her audience both an enjoyable experience and help them learn and understand more about American culture as expressed through. The goal of her interviews with some of the world's best musical artists was to provide an inside perspective on what the music means to the artists and what they are trying to convey to the audience.
REPORTER She reported on noteworthy music events, including breaking stories, award shows, and special events. She provided both live coverage of some events as well as taped stories and interviews with the major participants.
WRITER She wrote the scripts for all of her radio programs and reports, as well as articles for newspapers and magazines.
SPEAKER Judy has been a guest speaker at many events around the world.
Judy is a member of a number of professional associations and organizations, and participates in their programs and meetings. She also maintains a variety of industry relationships on both the national and international levels.
Professional Associates: Judy has extensive and highly successful working relationships with the top people in these industries and professions:
- Performing artists and their representatives
- Music industry leaders and managers
- Recording industry
- Broadcast industry (both radio and television)
- National and international press
- Public Relations firms & their publicists
AWARDS AND SPECIAL RECOGNITION
The Country Music Association The award was given to Judy in October, 1994, by the Country Music Association. The award says “Judy Massa is hereby acknowledged for outstanding contributions to the Advancement and Promotion of Country Music through the field of Electronic Journalism.”
The Tex Ritter Award The award was presented June 13, 1986. The plaque reads: "The 13th Annual IFCO Tex Ritter Award is presented to Judy Massa In special recognition of your years of outstanding effort and service to our country through the broadcast facilities of the Voice of America. Particularly in the broadcast and presentation of Country Music. We salute your achievements and efforts which continually prove that music is truly the Universal language."
DePauw University Alumni Citation The June 8, 1985 citation was "Awarded in recognition of outstanding achievements and services which reflect honor upon DePauw University."
RCA Country Records Trailblazer Award The 1985 award was presented "To Judy Massa in recognition of your efforts in breaking The Judds."
INTERNATIONAL JURY & PANEL PARTICIPATION
The Voice of America representative, Judy served on numerous panels, including the International Federation of Festival Organizations and the Country Music Association International Panel.
She was a member of the international jury at the 24th Golden Orpheus International Pop Song Festival in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria, June 9-12, 1993. Musicians from 14 nations competed for prizes.
She served as the American representative on an international panel of judges at the 3rd Annual "Voice of Asia" International Pop Music and Song Festival held August 1-9, 1992 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Musicians from more than 20 nations competed for prizes. Judy introduced the world to this important international festival through a series of VOA radio programs she produced and hosted upon her return to Washington.
She returned to Kazakhstan at the organizer's request to serve as a judge at the 4th Annual "Voice of Asia" International Pop Music and Song Festival July 17-25, 1993. She was selected by fellow jury members to write the formal declaration supporting ever nation’s traditional art forms.
Judy has hosted and participated in a wide variety of special events around the world:
Traveled to Ireland May 12 - 16, 1997 for a week of live On-The-Road Border Crossings shows from the Emerald Isle. Guests during this trip to Ireland included Donovan, The Coors. Mary Black, and other Irish performers. One special guest was Garth Brooks, on a concert tour of Ireland.
Conceived, organized, and hosted a live, two-hour Willis Conover Tribute Concert following the death of the noted VOA jazz commentator. Guests who performed live included Joe Williams, Charlie Byrd, Paquito D'Rivera, and Billy Taylor (who co-hosted the event with Judy). The tribute was broadcast live by VOA Radio and by Television worldwide.
In the summer of 1994 Judy accompanied Garth Brooks on his first international tour of eight countries and broadcast live from the tour.
On June 28 - July 17. 1993 Judy visited the People's Republic of China. She traveled to four cities: Chengdu, Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou. The purpose of her trip was to conduct audio-visual presentations and seminars about American Country Music. During part of her trip, she served as Emcee at the official opening of the new American Consulate Building in Sichuan Province. Her trip was warmly embraced by the Chinese, millions of whom devotedly listened to Country Music USA each week. The trip received extensive media coverage from the newspapers, radio, television, and magazines.
Served as VOA representative at MIDEM '93 in Cannes, France.
Served as an MC at the Roots of Rock concert in Cleveland. Ohio. The event was held on March 20, 1993 and celebrated the anniversary of Alan Freed's famous Moondog Coronation Ball. The performers included Carl Perkins, Hank Ballard and the Moonlighters, The Shirelles, and others. Concert highlights were broadcast by VOA, with Judy writing and providing the commentary for the programs.
Conceived, organized. and co-hosted the acclaimed Voice of America 50th Anniversary Gift of Song Concert which was broadcast March 21, 1992, where she invited artists representing many different styles of music to perform live for VOA's more than 100 million listeners worldwide The performing guests who donated their time and talent to perform on the show included Garth Brooks, Adam Makowicz, Joe Walsh, Chet Atkins, John Sebastian, Grover Washington Jr., Clark Terry, Mark O'Connor, and Kenny Rogers (who co-hosted the event with Judy).
On April 5, 1985, Judy premiered We Are The World on a special program that was broadcast worldwide by VOA. She was interviewed on CBS television about her program.
In 1984 she was the reporter for the first live VOA music broadcast ever, the Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam from Nashville. The program was so successful that she returned for two additional Jams and produced the programs covering the concerts.
See additional listings of Judy's special activities in the Border Crossings and Country Music USA sections.
COUNTRIES JUDY HAS VISITED
Judy has visited and worked in countries in every corner of the world. Her travels have taken her to:
The Americas: Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, Haiti, Barbados, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Europe: Ireland, England, France, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Bulgaria and Russia.
Middle East & Asia: Turkey, India, Kazakhstan, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.