2003 Radio Music Awards celebrate a night of ‘firsts’

By on November 6, 2003

Thousands of music’s biggest and brightest stars gathered at Las Vegas’ Aladdin Hotel and Casino last Monday for the 2003 Radio Music Awards. Tall Pony Productions teamed with Clear Channel Radio to produce the show, which aired on NBC. Co-hosts for the event were “American Idol” host and Los Angeles radio personality Ryan Seacrest and actress Brooke Burns, of NBC’s “Dog Eat Dog.”

The evening commenced with a bootylicious Beyonce Knowles performing “Baby Boy.” Knowles got the crowd as well as the stage fired up, as she danced suggestively in a ring of flames.

Other RMA performers included the first “American Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson, Nelly featuring Murphy Lee and P. Diddy, Avril Lavigne, Michelle Branch, Jewel, Tim McGraw, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. All, with the exception of Clarkson and Branch, took home awards that night.

Nelly and rap collaborators Murphy Lee and P. Diddy were awarded Best Driving Song for their hit “Shake Ya Tail Feather.”

The theme of the evening seemed to be ‘firsts.’ Avril Lavigne’s hit “Complicated” won the teen her first ever award for Song of the Year: Modern Adult Contemporary Radio. The young singer, also nominated for four other awards, donned army pants when she performed a slow version of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.”

Country performer McGraw won his second Radio Music Award for Artist of the Year: Country Radio. Other RMA winners include rapper 50 Cent for Artist of the Year: Hip Hop Radio, Connecticut’s own John Mayer for Artist of the Year: Modern Contemporary Radio and Justin Timberlake for Artist of the Year: Top 40 Radio. This was Timberlake’s first award as a solo artist.

Timberlake, who was up against artists Avril Lavigne, Christina Aguilera, Eminem, and Jennifer Lopez, walked away with a record four RMA trophies.

Carrying on the theme of the evening, Beyonce took the stage again to present Michael Jackson with the first ever RMA Humanitarian Award. The Radio Music Awards created the award especially for Jackson’s “selfless contributions” worldwide. The King of Pop received a standing ovation as he introduced his “We are the World” follow-up, “What More Can I Give.”

Another first in Radio Music Awards history recognized a radio talent whose voice we all know. N’SYNC star turned soloist JC Chasez presented Casey Kasem, of syndicated weekly American Top 40 fame, with the first RMA Radio Icon Award for his more than 30 years in the radio industry.

Following the classic “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” fans rose to their feet as Stevie Nicks awarded Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with the RMA Legend Award. Nicks credited Petty and the Heartbreakers as her “greatest musical influence.” Petty and his band concluded the 2-hour event with “I’m Crying.”

The Radio Music Awards nominees from each category were based on radio’s top-playing songs from the last year. Radio program and music directors from stations across the country voted on the winners.


About Vanessa Piper