Happy 35th Birthday MTV!

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Back on August 1, 1981, MTV blasted “the revolution that would do for TV what FM did for radio” as The Buggles’ new wave classic “Video Killed the Radio Star” hit the airwaves. For my generation, MTV was everything. It was our national radio station that united us for what is now considered to be a short period of time. We all had the opportunity to learn about new musical artists since they were played on MTV.

Now, You-Tube is where teens go to see music videos, if they want to. It was my observation as a former high school teacher to see the decline in the importance of music in the lives of teens. As a matter of fact, I can draw a line on a timeline when this change took place. Music was huge to kids who graduated in 2004 and earlier. After that, they were more interested in, no particular order: internet, Play Station/X-Box, ring tones, iPods, You-Tube, instant messaging, texting, smart phones, online gaming, chatting, and so on.

No longer is music bringing together people. Like society is teaching us now, the individual is most important, so our technology has moved in that direction as well. I don’t know whether I miss the community of music more or the ability to learn about new music via a music video channel.

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But, guess what?!?! VH1 Classic has become MTV Classic. I spent the afternoon reliving the first two hours of MTV’s life. That was a magical moment then, but was still pretty powerful to me today. Sure, the videos were silly at first, but at least I was getting music from The Go-Go’s instead of Neil Diamond. And, MTV forced Top 40 radio to change too.

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Guess what else happened in that first hour? We were introduced to the five original VJs, or video jockeys. You all remember them: Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, JJ Jackson, Martha Quinn and Nina Blackwood. Sure, MTV looked like radio on TV. But, then the station began to act like our generation. All of those “I Want My MTV” promos, followed by the irreverent promos. All of a sudden we were given Pee Wee Herman, the Fat Boys, “Thriller”, The Police, hair metal, Spring Break, Pauly Shore, and Yo! MTV Raps.

I want to hear your opinions. Could MTV ever reached the same status in the younger generations that it had in ours or has its time passed? Maybe, I am over-the-hill and should be branded “Classic” as well.