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July 28, 2014

MTV turns 25: Yet another sign that I'm freakin' old

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 31st 2006 12:02PM
MTV logoWhen I first heard that there was going to be a channel that showed only music videos, my first reaction was "What the hell are music videos?" (OK, I was ten at the time... I probably didn't say the word "music"). I think that's what most people thought on August 1, 1981, when the image of the Apollo moon rocket taking off flashed across cable customers' screens, the video for the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" played, and MTV was born. Little did any of us know how big and influential this quirky little channel was going to get.

MTV has decided to downplay tomorrow's silver anniversary celebration; according to this AP article chronicling the channel's seminal moments, they won't even mention it. I guess it's fitting, considering they stopped showing music videos when most of its current audience were in diapers. To them, the MTV of Martha Quinn, J.J. Jackson, Mark Goodman, and Nina Blackwood is a completely different channel than the one that currently is relying on Laguna Beach marathons. I'm sure sister channel VH1 will have something for their Gen X audience to satisfy their nostalgia jones, but I'm sure they'll stretch it into a five-part talking head show with Mo Rocca.

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Michael

It was always a kick to see just what NEW music MTV would feature back in the day. My fave weekly show was The Cutting Edge featuring Peter Zaremba from The Fleshtones as the host. Being sponsored by IRS Records, this weekly show would truly bring ground breaking artists to its audience each week. I've still got many of those shows on videotape (in freaking BETA no less) and there is no way MTV could possibly capture the zeitgeist of that era again.

It is truly a tragedy that it takes no less than FOUR music TV channels to cobble together even a day's worth of decent music video programming. MTV, MTV2, VH1 and VH1 Classic each were supposed to fill their own unique niche. To the old timers, each of those channels represented a unique brand at one time or another. Now, they are all interchangeable and equally poor at providing any sort of value to today's music audience. Endless repeats of cheaply packaged and produced product that is now only filler between commercial breaks is all they are good for. It is a damning commentary that the commercials are more slickly produced than the shows they are placed in. What else would one expect from the people who brought us all the prefab tween boy/girl bands of the '90s? If I wanted to see Showgirls/Rocky Horror/etc, I would watch HBO, not MTV. At least on HBO, I would see the whole movie in its unsanitized, commercial free badness. Gasp your last breath, Music Television. Your spirit left you ages ago.

August 01 2006 at 10:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
James

I find it odd that they still insist on keeping 'music television' in their logo(s).

Perhaps 'reality-based tripe with music in the background (so we can justify the M)' would be more suitable.

August 01 2006 at 3:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan

And now they are in the top 50 most recognized brands.
http://bwnt.businessweek.com/brand/2006/

August 01 2006 at 12:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Travis

Wow MTV is 25 And They Still Only Play 5 Seconds Of Each Video On TRL.

July 31 2006 at 3:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael

As far back as 1978 one of our UHF channels out of Milwaukee had a half hour music video show that aired every weekday in the late afternoons. Of course, before that, going way back to the early 1970's, you could see music videos between the live performances on Don Kirschner's Rock Concert.

When MTV debuted, I was 15, and my friends and I used to play a game where you had to name the ARTIST, SONG, ALBUM and LABEL before that info was flashed on the screen, usually about 5 seconds after the video started. With each new video, the next contestant had his/her turn, and the first to 21 was the winner...

Nowadays, that game would probably take about 18 months to finish.

MTV was utterly fantastic in it's original golden years, and to this day it still disgusts and dismays me to see just how far they've fallen.

July 31 2006 at 2:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
KMF

Mtv was my babysitter from the day it came on the air I was hooked. I was a wee kid but I guess pretty saavy because the music I heard then, and saw then is the staple of my music collection and my fondest memories growing up. I equate years of my life to what videos were on heavy rotation at the time.

I know a lot of people who were born well after Mtv's illustrious birth, and so yeah I feel freakin' old too! But I wouldn't trade any of it.

I knew it was the beginning of the end for Mtv when they had to launch Mtv 2 ( or M2 or whatever they called it) just to show all the cool videos they didn't show anymore, and then Mtv 2 ended up sucking as badly as Mtv so VH1 classics took up the slack.

Reality/talking head shows killed the video star.

July 31 2006 at 2:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tammy

I was a teenager when MTV started and believe it or not my small town cable company carried it. It's funny to read now how NYC didn't carry it and they had to go to NJ to watch it start when I got it where I was. MTV got me to fall in love with Adam Ant and I would bounce around to The Romantics. We had one radio station that blasted Top 40 Pop (and still does to this day) back then so I needed something to broaden my horizons. I used Columbia House to expand my record collection because you could rejoin often and get those 10 free albums for $1. Ahhhhh the good ol' days. I miss the old MTV with videos on during the afternoon when you got home from school. But then kids have MP3 players and the internet now, they can listen to music whenever and where ever so I guess they don't need the videos like we did back then.

July 31 2006 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JD


VH1 Classics will air the 1st start day of MTV, starting at midnight 1 August 2006.

July 31 2006 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Erica

Yay, I'm the same age as MTV!

They're not doing anything special for the anniversery?? I think MTV is missing an opportunity here.

July 31 2006 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen

Yet another sign that YOU'RE freaking old? Has it seriously been 25 years?? Sweet little Joel, I was a couple of months short of 23 in 1981. Of course, we didn't have a cable company that ran it right away, but I can tell you that my roommate and I would sit mesmerized in front of the television for HOURS once it was available. Nowadays, of course, I can relive that experience simply by watching "The Alternative" on VH1 Classic, but that's another story.

July 31 2006 at 12:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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