Download MTV Decade 1980-1989 [Complete Story]
MTV Decade 1980-1989 [Complete Story]
MTV Decade 1980-1989 [Complete Story]
MTV (originally an initialism of Music Television) is an American cable and satellite television channel owned by Viacom Media Networks (a division of Viacom) and headquartered in New York City. Launc...
MTV (originally an initialism of Music Television) is an American cable and satellite television channel owned by Viacom Media Networks (a division of Viacom) and headquartered in New York City. Launched on August 1, 1981, the channel originally aired music videos as guided by television personalities known as "video jockeys" (VJs). In its early years, MTV's main target demographic was young adults, but today it is primarily towards teenagers, high school and college students.

MTV has toned down its music video programming significantly in recent years, 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. It has received criticism towards this change of focus, both by certain segments of its audience and musicians. MTV's influence on its audience, including issues involving censorship and social activism, has also been a subject of debate for several years.

In recent years, MTV had struggled with the secular decline of music-related cable media. MTV ratings had been said to be failing systematically, as younger viewers increasingly shift towards digital media, with yearly ratings drops as high as 29%; thus there was doubt of the lasting relevance of MTV towards young audiences. In April 2016, MTV announced it would start to return to its original music roots with the reintroduction of the classic MTV series MTV Unplugged. It was also reported that the series MTV Cribs would be making a return on Snapchat, with 14 original music-related shows speculated to be in production.

MTV has spawned numerous sister channels in the US and affiliated channels internationally, some of which have gone independent. As of July 2015, approximately 92,188,000 US households (79.2% of households with television) have received MTV.

On Saturday, August 1, 1981 at 12:01 AM Eastern Time, MTV 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. 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". Sporadically, the screen would go black 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 would eventually use 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.

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), 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.
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