In 1981, on the first of August, MTV was launched in an estimated 2 million homes at 12:01 A.M. It started off with the words, “Ladies and gentleman, rock and roll.” You may remember that the first video shown was “Video Killed the Radio Star“, by The Buggles. Fortunately that prophecy didn’t come to pass, as evidenced by the fact you’re still listening to the radio. MTV however, hasn’t aired a video since the Clinton administration.
I was working my very first radio job in 1981, and remember the station teaming-up with our local cable provider to promote the “Big Launch” and encourage new cable subscribers to sign-up. Cable TV wasn’t everywhere back then, and the appeal of a music video channel might open-up the market to a whole new, younger audience. Hell, at my house, we had one tv in the living room. You watched the big three networks and PBS, if you could get the rabbit-ears adjusted the right way. (If you think animal appendages were involved with this, consult an older adult, or Google for clarification) I finally did see what all the hoopla was about when my more hip and affluent friends began to get the hook-up. It took a little gadgetry and a few lengths of cable between your “Hi-Fi”(again, see Google. O.K. Boomer) and tv set, but WOW, what a thrill to see Duran Duran belt out RIO in heavy rotation, eh? Yeah.
MTV was a thing for awhile, and then… Well, that’s memories. Oh, and the big radio station promotion? Not my fondest memory. I was in the studio while the big superstar talent went on location for the remote. Just so happened he was the Program Director, my boss, and during that three hours on-air I made every greenhorn inexperienced jock mistake in the book, to the much repeated refrain: “Man you are really suckin’ tonight!” Ahh, the encouraging words I received so often early in my career.
Of course, I forged on, and I’m fortunate to still be playing rockin’ on the radio 41 years down the road. In much better shape, I’d say, than MTV.