MTV premiered at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 1, 1981. (Bébéranol/Wikimedia Commons)

MTV premiered 38 years ago

Video Killed the Radio Star was the first video aired on the channel

The year was 1981 – shoulder pads were abundant and the bigger the hair, the better. This was also the year that MTV: Music Television aired for the very first time.

The channel premiered on Aug. 1, 1981 at 12:01 a.m. First, footage from the launch of NASA’s first orbiter was played and then, in a slightly robotic voice, co-creator John Lack said: “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.”

The MTV theme song then rang out over footage of the Apollo 11 moonwalk with the American flag replaced by the MTV logo.

The first video played on the channel was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles, followed by Styx, Rod Stewart and several other artists. With that, the 24-hour broadcasts had begun.

MTV’s early days consisted of music videos curated by their video jockeys — or VJs. Performers such as Duran Duran, Madonna and The Eurythmics had videos that were played on MTV regularly. Initially, the videos were basic, but as the program became more popular, more effort was put into the videos as recording studios recognized the value of promoting singers though MTV.

READ ALSO: Battle of the algebraic mnemonics occurs on Twitter

Since its debut, MTV has introduced several TV shows, documentaries, public service campaigns, news and the MTV Music Video Awards. MTV had a reputation for pushing boundaries by touching on topics such as safe sex and playing music videos that some considered to be risque.

Now, MTV’s content is mostly drama, comedy and reality TV, but the MTV Music Video Awards still take place annually and staple segments such as Unplugged have remained albeit inconsistently.

According to Bell Media, there are 63 MTV-branded channels worldwide.



editor@mondaymag.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

30 years later, Sue Medley’s hit ‘Dangerous Times’ more relevant than ever

Vancouver Island singer/songwriter reflects on her ’90s national hit

Psychological thriller filmed on northern Vancouver Island debuts on AppleTV

‘Woodland’ is set in Haida Gwaii, but was filmed around Port McNeill

Symphony Splash goes virtual, revisits 2018 performance

Organizers postpone live event until Aug. 1, 2021

Sooke Fine Art Show takes local art to a world stage

People can visit online from July 24 to Aug. 3, and can purchase any art until end of September

Nanaimo fantasy writer co-authoring Old Norse phrase book

Joshua Gillingham partnering with author and professor on ‘Old Norse for Modern Times’

Cowichan’s 39 Days of July deemed a success, despite COVID-19

Musical productions live streamed from the Duncan Showroom this year

Gabriola’s Isle of the Arts Festival goes ‘mini’ on 10th anniversary

Gabriola Arts Council presents scaled-down, workshop-only IOTA Mini festival

Sooke Fine Arts Show reaches new audiences with virtual showcase

Voting for People’s Choice Award open until Aug. 3

Mural artists announced for Nanaimo’s inaugural Hub City Walls festival

Local artists Kara Dee Harrison, Russell Morland and Austin Weflen to paint downtown walls

Nanaimo musician Glen Foster releases new music video

‘Brains Brawn and Beauty’ is the latest single from Foster’s album ‘Not Far Away’

Nanaimo artist showing holographic, glow-in-the-dark paintings in Parksville

Pattiann Withapea presents ‘Designs From My Abstract Mind’ at McMillan Arts Centre

New Victoria art show displays 600 collaboratively made postcards from the pandemic

An artist would start a card and then mail it to another who would add to or complete the design

Most Read