MTV videos first to be broadcast opening day
MTV, in full Music Television, cable television network that began as a 24-hour platform for music videos.
MTV debuted just after midnight on August 1, 1981, with the broadcast of “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles. Following the format of Top 40 radio, video disc jockeys (or “veejays”) introduced videos and bantered about music news between clips. After an initial splash, the network struggled in its early years. The music video reservoir was then somewhat shallow, resulting in frequent repetition of clips, and cable television remained a luxury that had not quite found its market. MTV expanded its programming to include rhythm and blues artists, and the network took off. Singles such as “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” from Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1982) not only showcased the the strengths of the music video format but proved that exposure on MTV could propel artists to superstardom.