MTV: The First Broadcast Hour August 1, 1981

30 years ago today on August 1, 1981, at 12:01 a.m the MTV cable network was first introduced and the concept of a channel that would just play ‘music television’ 24/7 was born.

Taking a look back at the old footage it’s funny to see its evolution from 1981 to now. Back then, MTV self-proclaimed themselves to be ‘the latest achievement in home entertainment’, music television in full dolby stereo sound. ‘The best of TV combined with the best of radio’. MTV’s launch marked the beginning of a new era in music history and it was even musically cemented by very first music video shown which was the song ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ by British synthpop/new wave group The Buggles.

The beginning of the end of the network’s focus on music started around 1992 with the introduction of its reality TV show, ‘The Real World’. Over the years the network’s focus clearly moved from music television programming to other things and eventually in 2008, MTV fully dropped its ‘Music Television’ tagline altogether. With its current focus on ‘reality’ TV shows like the ‘Jersey Shore’ it seems that now reality TV has killed the video star…at least on MTV.

Watch the first hour of MTV’s 1981 broadcast.


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