MTV launched 33 years ago today; watch the music station’s first broadcast


The answer to the worst trivia question of all time is the Buggles’ “Video Killed The Radio Star.” But just before MTV aired their first music video on August 1, 1981, there was a nearly-two minute intro clip that, when viewed today, looks like some prehistoric archeological find.

With today’s 33rd anniversary of the launch of MTV, check out the station’s first broadcast below, featuring first hello’s by original DJs Martha Quinn, Jay Jay Jackson, Nina Blackwood, and others, with John Lack welcoming: “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.”

The iconic (maybe still?) MTV theme song, composed by Jonathan Elias and John Petersen, aired over the Apollo 11 moon landing footage and became the most recognizable riff of the next two decades. “We’ll be doing for TV what FM did for radio,” promises Jackson.


It certainly did. But today, MTV is pretty lost — kinda like most 33-year-olds.

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