Country music executive, former broadcaster Lisa Lee dies; Cabot native was 52

Cabot native Lisa Lee is shown in a publicity photo for the publication of her book in 2014. The Cabot native and Academy of Country Music executive died Saturday. She was 52. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)
Cabot native Lisa Lee is shown in a publicity photo for the publication of her book in 2014. The Cabot native and Academy of Country Music executive died Saturday. She was 52. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)

Lisa Lee, an Academy of Country Music executive and former broadcaster who was born in Cabot, died Saturday from brain cancer. She was 52.

Lee is survived by her parents, Charlie and Faye Young; her husband Doug Lee; daughter Grayson, and son Jackson.

News of Lee’s death brought praise from some of country’s top artists as well as those who worked with her at the academy.

According to her obituary, Lee was born Alicia Faye Young in Cabot, on Dec. 24, 1968. After graduation, she earned a bachelor’s in journalism and English from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Northwestern University.

She started working at the Cabot Star-Herald after college, then switched to broadcast journalism with an early job at Shreveport’s NBC affiliate, KTAL-TV.

According to the Democrat-Gazette story from 2015, Lee was working at KTAL and heard that country music artist Collin Raye would be in his hometown of De Queen for a street dedication ceremony. She wasn’t working that weekend, but traveled to De Queen and scored an interview with Raye.

She met a reporter at the event from then-country music network The Nashville Network. She gave the reporter a card and, after sending a resume tape, was soon freelancing at the network. A year and a half later, she was a full-time anchor for TNN.

Lee worked for 10 years in Nashville for TNN and later CMT. In 2004, she moved to Los Angeles to be a Hollywood correspondent covering music, movies and television for CMT Insider, according to the Democrat-Gazette report.

In 2014, Lee wrote a book titled “This Is Country: A Backstage Pass to the Academy of Country Music Awards,” with a foreword by Reba McEntire.

She described for this paper in 2015: “We tracked down the four members of that first show that were still with us and talked to them about the early days. There is a foreword from Reba McEntire, and we also had essays from the Artist of the Decade Award winners — Marty Robbins (1960s), Loretta Lynn (1970s), Randy Owens of Alabama (1980s), Garth Brooks (1990s) and George Strait (2000s). All of them were alive except Marty Robbins, so Marty Stuart wrote his. [ACM Awards hosts] Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan also had some contributions. It was was a great project. It was just nice to make my parents proud. They still live in Cabot.”

She told the the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in a 2015 interview how much she loved her work.

“I get to listen to music for a living. My entire career has been so fun. It is eye-opening to see artists grow and explode and be a small part of that as they are chasing their dreams.”

Visitation will be from 5-8 p.m. Friday at Moore’s Funeral Home in Cabot, followed by a memorial service Saturday. A celebration of life will be held in Nashville at a later date.

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