Video Killed the Radio Star

With that song, a legend was born and a generation was about to be defined. 

Today marks the 30th anniversary of MTV’s debut.  I was thinking the same thing as you, holy crap, I’ve gotten old.  While the channel has gone as far away from their roots as one possibly can, no one can argue it’s place in American culture.  I remember as a young kid watching it at my grandma’s place in New Jersey and just loving it.  Hours upon hours of music videos. 

It wasn’t until the early 90’s that MTV really entrenched itself and defined an entire generation of kids.  I can still remember the first time I saw “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Jeremy”  and was completely turned on to a type of music that I still love to this day.  There were days we would rush home to catch debuts of new videos.  It was must-watch TV.   I can still recall when Kurt Loder came on and announced that Kurt Cobain had died and how much that affected our generation. 

I can still remember late nights staying up to watch Headbangers Ball or Yo MTV Raps. I really started to shape my taste of music through this channel.  I was among the many who watched this crazy experiment of “reality TV” with  Real World New York and watched the many following season through college. 

I enjoyed the rise of Beavis and Butthead.  It is still one of my favorite shows.  No, I wasn’t one of those kids who tried to light cats on fire or any of the other crazy stuff portrayed on the cartoon, it was just good, stupid, entertaining TV that made the daily drudgery of teenage life go away for 1/2 hour at a time.

The highlight of my MTV years was Woodstock ’99.  It came just a couple of months after I graduated college.  MTV aired the whole thing and I sat in my apartment watching this unfold in front of me.  I think this may be the last time I watched the channel for any length of time.  In a way, that concert marked the end of my “college life” and started the transition into my “professional life”, since I started my new job at NBC a month later. 

Those ten years of MTV were, in my opinion the golden years of the network.  It still played music but did well mixing in other shows.  It has been a steady decline since.  To call themselves MTV now is an insult to what they once were. 

So today I choose to remember those formative years between 1990 and 1999 when MTV was destination television and thank them for helping me through those difficult years. 

 

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