When We Wanted Our MTV (More Than Just Once A Year)

It's hard to believe it's been 39 years since MTV's first Video Music Awards.

It seems like only yesterday that I was standing on line waiting for the men's room behind David Lee Roth when a young lady asked if she could meet him after the after-party, and he turned, leaned right in my face, and gave me a big wink.

Or watching Madonna roll around on the stage at Radio City Music Hall while performing "Like A Virgin" not far from where I was seated.

Or eating sushi with Diana Ross during one of the after-parties at Tavern On The Green in Central Park.

That was MTV in its heyday when it literally was "music television."

I've given up second-guessing the wisdom of the pivots corporate media moguls have made to undermine some of the greatest media franchises long ago, but I figured since this is the eve of MTV's 39th annual Video Music Awards, I'd weigh in just a little bit more. Also, I'm filling in for Wayne Friedman on "TV Watch" this week, so might as well tackle something timely.



Sadly, I had to research MTV's current programming schedule to research this column, because I haven't actually watched it in many years, and from what I can tell, other that  some occasional "MTV Unpluggeds," occasional music-oriented documentaries, and some concerts airing on Paramount+, the only actual music program MTV still produces is its annual "Video Music Awards."

So once or so a year, MTV actually is music television.

I'd say that MTV left a void in the music television marketplace, but others have long since filled it, especially Google (YouTube is one of, if not the largest licensor of music content of any video medium.)

Maybe that's just the natural order of things.

MTV begets YouTube.

HBO begets Netflix.

CNN begets, well, you know.

But for a TV channel that was in the vanguard of video music, it's nice to know they still have an award for that. Even if they just give it out once a year.

3 comments about "When We Wanted Our MTV (More Than Just Once A Year)".
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  1. Charles Pierce from Private, September 12, 2023 at 10:23 a.m.

    This column brilliantly summed up by Bowling for Soup in their song "1985"......see chorus.

    LYRICS "1985"

    Debbie just hit the wall, she never had it all
    One Prozac a day, husband's a CPA
    Her dreams went out the door when she turned twenty-four
    Only been with one man, what happened to her plan?
    She was gonna be an actress, she was gonna be a star
    She was gonna shake her ass on the hood of Whitesnake's car
    Her yellow SUV is now the enemy
    Looks at her average life and nothin' has been alright
    Since Bruce Springsteen, Madonna
    Way before Nirvana
    There was U2 and Blondie
    And music still on MTV
    Her two kids in high school
    They tell her that she's uncool
    'Cause she's still preoccupied
    With 19, 19

  2. Robert Rose from AIM Tell-A-Vision, September 14, 2023 at 3:51 p.m.

    Just wanted to shout out Charles for the "Bowling for Soup" referenced. Nicely done! Good article too Joe, BTW. 

  3. Ben B from Retired, September 18, 2023 at 7:43 p.m.

    Fresh Out Playlist is the only music they play on MTV on Sat at 8AM to 9AM. I still watch MTV I like The Challenge and have watched it since day 1, JS: Family Vacation, Catfish etc. MTV Classic & Live air music videos.

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