Start of MTV

MTV first aired on August 1, 1981 in a few select towns on the East Coast. “Steve Ross’s Warner Communications Incorporated and James Robinson III’s American Express created WASEC in 1979 to provide programming for Warners Anex’s failing cable system.” The creators of MTV happen to also be the creators of the movie channel which played 24-hour movies and Nickelodeon – a well-known kid station.

The main founders of MTV are Jack Schneider – a broadcasting legend and former chief of the CBS broadcast group as well as the former president of WASEC. John Lack – former Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at WASEC  and former director of a CBS all news radio station in New York and Bob McGroarty – ,another CBS radio star and former marketing and sales chief of WASEC .

The thought of a channel that played primarily music came from when The senior vice President of Worn Communications saw a music video and then started to bring them into Bob and John. Bob wanted to put the show on the same channel as nickelodeon but John wanted to start a network with it. With the launching of MTV, the press was highly critical. The network had glitches, dead air, and the scheduling would be mixed up or incorrect. However, the younger generation fell in love. Within two weeks of MTV’s launch, people across the nation were talking about it. The first music video played on MTV was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. MTV has revolutionized the music industry and influenced pop culture and entertainment. It has also influenced fashion, movies, and television. MTV has more than 340 million viewers in 139 countries including Russia, Vietnam, and China – even though a lot of the programming there is censored and goes through screening processes. MTV got its music videos for free from recording companies because the companies considered it free advertising. MTV is credited to creating famous icons like Michael Jackson and Madonna. It is also known for pushing cultural boundaries like Madonna’s 1989 “Like a Prayer” quote music video that ended up getting censored. Some people say MTV saved the music industry and that it is also the reason for ending the cold war. Even though MTV no longer plays music videos, it is still a huge force in pop culture. MTV still has programming aimed at teenage and young adult audiences, and getting a MTV music or movie award is considered a big deal. Technology at the time was growing and the invention of the Sony video ate one of the first trip-based camcorders capable of recording videos on a standard eight MM videotape and Sony 8MM, “Handycam” – a big game changer as they did not need to use bulky filming equipment, they were not as costly, and made it easier to film in different locations. However, some bigger, more professional videos used the ARRIFLEX 35BL camera – the same kind of camera that shot the Taxi Driver, Star Wars VI, and The Never Ending Story. Many say this was the golden era of music, and whether that is true or not is in the eye of the beholder but music videos did not stop growing in popularity, technique, nor were they in short supply.


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