Today is the 30th birthday of MTV. While MTV isn't behind the birth of music videos it changed the landscape of music and how we consume it.
Today the channel has more non-music shows than it had in its early beginnings where 24 hours a day you could see your favorite songs movie style.
Without those videos some of our favorites today may have never made it past playing in nightclubs. Madonna is one of music's icons but her videos made her into a superstar. Do you really think a group like Hanson would have stayed around as long as they did without being cute kids with bubblegum wrapped videos?
When the shows like Real World started running MTV showed it was on the cutting edge in terms of reality programming. First broadcast in 1992 the show is the longest running program on MTV currently in its 25th year. It wasn't until 1994 when the show captured me. The show focused on housemates in San Francisco that year bringing a true face of AIDS front and center. It was hard not to care about young Pedro Zamora as he fought the virus while maintaining a peaceful dignity. When he died just hours after the final episode that season I cried remembering the trials he had faced.
MTV has managed to be more than just a music channel with shows like Real World, it has brought focus to real issues like voting and teen pregnancy straight to the generation that needs education about these concerns.
As MTV has aged it has never lost its focus of its audience. As we age we may not tune in to the shows as often but every once in a while a bit of old time rock and roll comes along and you just have to blast MTV as loud as you can and dance like it's 1981!
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