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Thu Aug 1, 2019, 06:05 AM

38 Years Ago Today; Video Kills Radio Star - Music Television begins broadcasting

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTV



MTV (originally an initialism of Music Television) is an American pay television channel that serves as the flagship property of owner Viacom Media Networks (a division of Viacom) and is headquartered in New York City. The channel was launched on August 1, 1981, and originally aired music videos as guided by television personalities known as "video jockeys" (VJs). At first, MTV's main target demographic was young adults, but today it is primarily teenagers, particularly high school and college students.

Since its inception, MTV has toned down its music video programming significantly, and its programming now consists mainly of original reality, comedy and drama programming and some off-network syndicated programs and films, with limited music video programming in off-peak time periods. MTV had struggled with the secular decline of music-related subscription-based media. Its ratings had been said to be failing systematically, as younger viewers increasingly shift towards other media platforms, with yearly ratings drops as high as 29%; thus there was doubt of the lasting relevance of MTV towards young audiences. In April 2016, then-appointed MTV president Sean Atkins announced plans to restore music programming to the channel. Under current MTV president Chris McCarthy, reality programming has once again become prominent. Most days are filled with extensive repeat marathons of Ridiculousness, Catfish, and episodes from the Jersey Shore and Teen Mom franchises.

MTV has spawned numerous sister channels in the U.S. and affiliated channels internationally, some of which have gone independent, with approximately 90.6 million American households in the United States receiving the channel as of January 2016.

History
Previous concepts (1964–1977)

Several earlier concepts for music video-based television programming had been around since the early 1960s. The Beatles had used music videos to promote their records starting in the mid-1960s. The creative use of music videos within their 1964 film A Hard Day's Night, particularly the performance of the song "Can't Buy Me Love", led MTV later on June 26, 1999, to honor the film's director Richard Lester with an award for "basically inventing the music video".

In his book The Mason Williams FCC Rapport, author Mason Williams states that he pitched an idea to CBS for a television program that featured "video-radio", where disc jockeys would play avant-garde art pieces set to music. CBS rejected the idea, but Williams premiered his own musical composition "Classical Gas" on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, where he was head writer. In 1970, Philadelphia-based disc jockey Bob Whitney created The Now Explosion, a television series filmed in Atlanta and broadcast in syndication to other local television stations throughout the United States. The series featured promotional clips from various popular artists, but was canceled by its distributor in 1971. Several music programs originating outside of the US, including Australia's Countdown and the United Kingdom's Top of the Pops, which had initially aired music videos in lieu of performances from artists who were not available to perform live, began to feature them regularly by the mid-1970s.

In 1974, Gary Van Haas, vice president of Televak Corporation, introduced a concept to distribute a music video channel to record stores across the United States, and promoted the channel, named Music Video TV, to distributors and retailers in a May 1974 issue of Billboard. The channel, which featured video disc jockeys, signed a deal with US Cable in 1978 to expand its audience from retail to cable television. The service was no longer active by the time MTV launched in 1981.

Pre-history (1977–1981)
In 1977, Warner Cable a division of Warner Communications and the precursor of Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment launched the first two-way interactive cable television system named QUBE in Columbus, Ohio. The QUBE system offered many specialized channels. One of these specialized channels was Sight on Sound, a music channel that featured concert footage and music-oriented television programs. With the interactive QUBE service, viewers could vote for their favorite songs and artists.

The original programming format of MTV was created by media executive Robert W. Pittman, who later became president and chief executive officer (CEO) of MTV Networks.[13] Pittman had test-driven the music format by producing and hosting a 15-minute show, Album Tracks, on New York City television station WNBC-TV in the late 1970s.

Pittman's boss Warner-Amex executive vice president John Lack had shepherded PopClips, a television series created by former Monkee-turned solo artist Michael Nesmith, whose attention had turned to the music video format in the late 1970s. The inspiration for PopClips came from a similar program on New Zealand's TVNZ network named Radio with Pictures, which premiered in 1976. The concept itself had been in the works since 1966, when major record companies began supplying the creator of New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation with promotional music clips to play on the air at no charge. Few artists made the long trip to New Zealand to appear live.

Launch


The first images shown on MTV were a montage of the Apollo 11 moon landing

On Saturday, August 1, 1981, at 12:01 AM Eastern Time, MTV was launched with the words "Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll," spoken by John Lack and played over footage of the first Space Shuttle launch countdown of Columbia (which took place earlier that year) and of the launch of Apollo 11. Those words were immediately followed by the original MTV theme song, a crunching rock tune composed by Jonathan Elias and John Petersen, playing over the American flag changed to show MTV's logo changing into various textures and designs. MTV producers Alan Goodman and Fred Seibert used this public domain footage as a concept; Seibert said that they had originally planned to use Neil Armstrong's "One small step" quote, but lawyers said that Armstrong owned his name and likeness and that he had refused, so the quote was replaced with a beeping sound.[18] A shortened version of the shuttle launch ID ran at the top of every hour in various forms, from MTV's first day until it was pulled in early 1986 in the wake of the Challenger disaster.

The first music video shown on MTV was The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star", originally only available to homes in New Jersey. This was followed by the video for Pat Benatar's "You Better Run". The screen went black sporadically when an employee at MTV inserted a tape into a VCR. MTV's lower third graphics that appeared near the beginning and end of music videos eventually used the recognizable Kabel typeface for about 25 years, but these graphics differed on MTV's first day of broadcast; they were set in a different typeface and included information such as the year and record label name.

"MTV has paved the way for a host of invaders from abroad: Def Leppard, Adam Ant, Madness, Eurythmics, the Fixx and Billy Idol, to name a few. In return, grateful Brits, even superstars like Pete Townshend and the Police, have mugged for MTV promo spots and made the phrase ”I want my MTV” a household commonplace."

—Anglomania: The Second British Invasion, by Parke Puterbaugh for Rolling Stone, November 1983.


As programming chief, Robert W. Pittman recruited and managed a team for the launch that included Tom Freston (who succeeded Pittman as CEO of MTV Networks), Fred Seibert, John Sykes, Carolyn Baker (original head of talent and acquisition), Marshall Cohen (original head of research), Gail Sparrow (of talent and acquisition), Sue Steinberg (executive producer), Julian Goldberg, Steve Lawrence, Geoff Bolton; studio producers and MTV News writers/associate producers Liz Nealon, Nancy LaPook and Robin Zorn; Steve Casey (creator of the name "MTV" and its first program director),[26] Marcy Brafman, Ronald E. "Buzz" Brindle, and Robert Morton. Kenneth M. Miller is credited as being the first technical director to officially launch MTV from its New York City-based network operations facility.

MTV's effect was immediate in areas where the new music video channel was carried. Within two months, record stores in areas where MTV was available were selling music that local radio stations were not playing, such as Men at Work, Bow Wow Wow and the Human League. MTV sparked the Second British Invasion, with British acts, who had been accustomed to using music videos for half a decade, featuring heavily on the channel.

MTV targeted an audience between the ages of twelve to thirty-four. However, according to MTV's self conducted research over 50% of its audience was between twelve and twenty-four. Furthermore, this particular group watched MTV for an average of thirty minutes to two hours a day.

Original VJs and format (1981–1994)


The first VJ's (From L to R); J.J. Jackson, Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Martha Quinn and Alan Hunter

The original purpose of MTV was to be "music television", playing music videos 24 hours a day and seven days a week, guided by on-air personalities known as VJs, or video jockeys. The original slogans of the channel were "You'll never look at music the same way again", and "On cable. In stereo."

MTV's earliest format was modeled after AOR (album-oriented rock) radio; MTV underwent a transition to mimic a full Top 40 station in 1984. Fresh-faced young men and women were hired to host the channel's programming and to introduce music videos that were being played. The term VJ was coined, which was a play on the initialism DJ (disc jockey). Many VJs eventually became celebrities in their own right. The original five MTV VJs in 1981 were Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson and Martha Quinn.

The VJs recorded intro and outro voiceovers before broadcast, along with music news, interviews, concert dates and promotions. These segments appeared to air live and debut across the MTV program schedule 24 hours a day and seven days a week, although the segments themselves were pre-taped within a regular work week at MTV's studios.

The early music videos that made up the bulk of MTV's programming in the 1980s were promotional videos (or "promos", a term that originated in the United Kingdom) that record companies had commissioned for international use or concert clips from any available sources.

Rock bands and performers of the 1980s who had airplay on MTV ranged from new wave to hard rock or heavy metal bands such as Adam Ant, Bryan Adams, The Pretenders, Blondie, Eurythmics, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Culture Club, Mötley Crüe, Split Enz, Prince, Ultravox, Duran Duran, Van Halen, Bon Jovi, RATT, Def Leppard, The Police, and The Cars. The channel also rotated the music videos of "Weird Al" Yankovic, who made a career out of parodying other artists' videos. MTV also aired several specials by "Weird Al" in the 1980s and 1990s under the title Al TV.

MTV also played classic rock acts from the 1980s and earlier decades, including David Bowie, Dire Straits (whose 1985 song and video "Money for Nothing" both referenced MTV and also included the slogan "I want my MTV" in its lyrics), Journey, Rush, Linda Ronstadt, Genesis, Billy Squier, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, The Moody Blues, John Mellencamp, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Billy Joel, Robert Palmer, Rod Stewart, The Who, and ZZ Top; newly solo acts such as Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant, Phil Collins, Paul McCartney, David Lee Roth, and Pete Townshend; supergroup acts such as Asia, The Power Station, Yes, The Firm, and Traveling Wilburys, as well as forgotten acts such as Michael Stanley Band, Shoes, Blotto, Ph.D., Rockpile, Bootcamp, Silicon Teens and Taxxi. The hard rock band Kiss publicly appeared without their trademark makeup for the first time on MTV in 1983. The first country-music video aired on MTV was "Angel of the Morning" by Juice Newton, which first aired on MTV's premiere date. (Newton's video was the third video by a solo female artist to air on MTV, after Pat Benatar and Carly Simon.)

During the early days of the channel, MTV occasionally let other stars take over the channel within an hour as "guest VJs". These guests included musicians such as Adam Ant, Billy Idol, Phil Collins, Simon LeBon, and Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran, Tina Turner; and comedians such as Eddie Murphy, Martin Short, Dan Aykroyd, and Steven Wright; as they chose their favorite music videos.

The 1983 film Flashdance was the first film in which its promoters excerpted musical segments from it and supplied them to MTV as music videos, which the channel then aired in regular rotation.

In addition to bringing lesser-known artists into view, MTV was instrumental in adding to the booming eighties dance wave. Videos' budgets increased, and artists began to add fully choreographed dance sections. Michael Jackson's music became synonymous with dance. In addition to learning the lyrics, fans also learned his choreography so they could dance along. Madonna capitalized on dance in her videos, using classically trained jazz and break-dancers. Along with extensive costuming and make-up, Duran Duran used tribal elements, pulled from Dunham technique, in "The Wild Boys", and Kate Bush used a modern dance duet in "Running Up That Hill". MTV brought more than music into public view, it added to the ever-growing resurgence of dance in the early 1980s that has carried through to today.

In 1984, more record companies and artists began making video clips for their music than in the past, realizing the popularity of MTV and the growing medium. In keeping with the influx of videos, MTV announced changes to its playlists in the November 3, 1984, issue of Billboard magazine, that would take effect the following week. The playlist categories would be expanded to seven, from three (light, medium, heavy); including New, Light, Breakout, Medium, Active, Heavy and Power. This would ensure artists with hit records on the charts would be get the exposure they deserved, with Medium being a home for the established hits still on the climb up to the top 10; and Heavy being a home for the big hits – without the bells and whistles – just the exposure they commanded.

In 1985, MTV spearheaded a safe-sex initiative as a response to the AIDS epidemic that continues to influence sexual health currently. In this light, MTV pushed teens to pay more attention to safe-sex because they were most likely more willing to hear this message from MTV than their parents. This showed that MTV was not always influencing youth negatively. Even though in other aspects, MTV was provocative, they had this campaign to showcase their positive influence on youths and safe sex – a campaign that still is alive today: "Its Your Sex Life".

Breaking the "color barrier" (1981–1983)


Michael Jackson, whose discography included music videos such as "Beat It", "Billie Jean", and "Thriller"

During MTV's first few years on the air, very few black artists were included in rotation on the channel. The select few who were in MTV's rotation were Michael Jackson, Prince, Eddy Grant, Donna Summer, Joan Armatrading, Musical Youth, and Herbie Hancock. The very first people of color to perform on MTV was the British band The Specials, which featured an integrated line-up of white and black musicians and vocalists. The Specials' video "Rat Race" was played as the 58th video on the station's first day of broadcasting.

MTV rejected other black artists' videos, such as Rick James' "Super Freak", because they did not fit the channel's carefully selected album-oriented rock format at the time. The exclusion enraged James; he publicly advocated the addition of more black artists' videos on the channel. Rock legend David Bowie also questioned MTV's lack of black artists during an on-air interview with VJ Mark Goodman in 1983. MTV's original head of talent and acquisition, Carolyn B. Baker, who was black, had questioned why the definition of music had to be so narrow, as had a few others outside the network. "The party line at MTV was that we weren't playing black music because of the 'research'", said Baker years later. "But the research was based on ignorance ... we were young, we were cutting edge. We didn't have to be on the cutting edge of racism." Nevertheless, it was Baker who had personally rejected Rick James' video for Super Freak "because there were half-naked women in it, and it was a piece of crap. As a black woman, I did not want that representing my people as the first black video on MTV."

The network's director of music programming, Buzz Brindle, told an interviewer in 2006, "MTV was originally designed to be a rock music channel. It was difficult for MTV to find African American artists whose music fit the channel's format that leaned toward rock at the outset." Writers Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum noted that the channel "aired videos by plenty of white artists who didn't play rock." Andrew Goodwin later wrote, "[MTV] denied racism, on the grounds that it merely followed the rules of the rock business." MTV senior executive vice president Les Garland complained decades later, "The worst thing was that 'racism' bullshit ... there were hardly any videos being made by black artists. Record companies weren't funding them. They never got charged with racism." However, critics of that defense pointed out that record companies were not funding videos for black artists because they knew that they would have difficulty persuading MTV to play them.

Before 1983, Michael Jackson also struggled to receive airtime on MTV. To resolve the struggle and finally "break the color barrier", the president of CBS Records at the time, Walter Yetnikoff, denounced MTV in a strong, profane statement, threatening to take away MTV's ability to play any of the record label's music videos. However, Les Garland, then acquisitions head, said he decided to air Jackson's "Billie Jean" video without pressure from CBS. This was contradicted by CBS head of Business Affairs David Benjamin in Vanity Fair.

According to The Austin Chronicle, Jackson's video for the song "Billie Jean" was "the video that broke the color barrier, even though the channel itself was responsible for erecting that barrier in the first place." But change was not immediate. "Billie Jean" was not added to MTV's "medium rotation" playlist (two to three airings per day) until after it had already reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In the final week of March, it was in "heavy rotation", one week before the MTV debut of Jackson's "Beat It" video. Prince's "Little Red Corvette" joined both videos in heavy rotation at the end of April. At the beginning of June, "Electric Avenue" by Eddy Grant joined "Billie Jean", which was still in heavy rotation until mid-June. At the end of August, "She Works Hard for the Money" by Donna Summer was in heavy rotation on the channel. Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" and Lionel Richie's "All Night Long" was placed in heavy rotation at the end of October and the beginning of November respectively. In final week of November, Donna Summer's "Unconditional Love" was in heavy rotation. When Jackson's elaborate video for "Thriller" was released late in the year, which raised the ambition bar for what a video could be, the network's support for it was total; subsequently, more pop and R&B videos were played on MTV.

Regardless of the timeline, many black artists had their videos played in "heavy" rotation the following year (1984). Along with Herbie Hancock, Prince, Donna Summer, other black artists such as Billy Ocean, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Lionel Richie, Ray Parker Jr, Rockwell, The Pointer Sisters, The Jacksons, Sheila E and Deniece Williams all had videos played in heavy rotation on MTV.

Eventually, videos from the emerging genre of rap and hip hop also began to enter rotation on MTV. A majority of the rap artists appearing on MTV in the mid-1980s such as Run-DMC, The Fat Boys, Whodini, LL Cool J, and the Beastie Boys were from the East Coast.

</snip>





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Reply 38 Years Ago Today; Video Kills Radio Star - Music Television begins broadcasting (Original post)
Dennis Donovan Aug 1 OP
hlthe2b Aug 1 #1
Dennis Donovan Aug 1 #4
Boomerproud Aug 1 #6
tanyev Aug 1 #7
rockfordfile Aug 1 #2
Tommy_Carcetti Aug 1 #3
samnsara Aug 1 #5
Javaman Aug 1 #8
pecosbob Aug 1 #9

Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Thu Aug 1, 2019, 06:18 AM

1. I haven't watched MTV since they changed from music video format..

I used to love having it on in the background and seeing all those videos. I doubt I'm the only one.

GD 'REALITY' TV. I hate it.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 1, 2019, 06:58 AM

4. As a GenXer, it was seminal in my social and artistic development

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 1, 2019, 07:45 AM

6. I was in my early 20's when it came on.

I agree it's now pure dreck and has been for decades.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 1, 2019, 08:02 AM

7. Me too! I would still be watching it if they still played music videos.

I don't know why musicians bother making music videos anymore since there are no longer 24 hr TV channels playing them. And yes, I know you can find the videos online, but it's rare that I will go to that much trouble to find one.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Thu Aug 1, 2019, 06:30 AM

2. They don't play music anymore. It's one big pos network

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Thu Aug 1, 2019, 06:55 AM

3. And Internet killed the Video Star.

I really only followed MTV towards the end of its “music” days before reality programming consumed it.

I did enjoy falling asleep to music videos sometimes while I was in college, though.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Thu Aug 1, 2019, 07:23 AM

5. i still have my bright blue MTV t shirt!

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Thu Aug 1, 2019, 10:13 AM

8. and for a rebuttal...

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Thu Aug 1, 2019, 12:58 PM

9. Doing music videos before people even knew what they were...





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