There’s no doubt that there’s a generation of Radio People who the significance of the first decade of MTV, would be totally lost on them. That’s cool. I get it. Ed Sullivan and Wolfman Jack were kind of lost on me. I got the cultural significance and the effect affect they had on my older brothers but the true impact and why? I didn’t grasp.
I was actually late on stumbling on it. I’d heard about it, people were talking about it, but if you lived in the last corner of Portland, Oregon to get wired for cable, you were kind of screwed. So it wasn’t until I was 21 and doing Spring Break with some friends in Breckenridge that I was able to binge on it for more than about two videos. My memories of that week are clouded and we’ll leave it at that, but it feels like “Come On Eileen” (poor Eileen’s parents) ran in heavy rotation, or, about every 9 minutes.
MTV was basically Radio. But with a visual. The programming was based on Radio. The people who created it and 4 of the five first VJ’s were all from Radio. JJ Jackson BROKE LED ZEPPLIN IN THE US. Mark Goodman had been at WMMR and WPLJ and when the music video channel started, sent a four page memo to one of the VP’s where he outlined, among other things, “The audience of MTV will not be like the average TV audience. In many ways, they will be more musically aware than many of the people involved in this project.” Kind of sounds like the Millennials, which is an audience that communicates visually.
Bob Pittman and the rest took great, classic radio promotional concepts that we will still do, and add a visual to them.
Stars Cars? How about winning a Bat Mobile.
Or even an awful promotion that we need to do around a turd brought to use by a client, and dressing it up. Like winning the limo from “Dr. Detroit”. Point, set, match.
They took titles of hit and built promotions around them. Like winning a little pink house.
Or making a video for Madonna.
Or winning Bon Jovi’s house.
MTV knew where the audience was and went there. Like Spring Break. Do you want to be in the studio talking about it or actually there, covering it?
You could win the opportunity to win be a roadie for a band.
Or, who hasn’t sent a listener to prom with a DJ? Well, a young woman in Wyoming had Prince come to her prom.
The methodology was usually the same: send in a post card. And that’s fine. Great prizes are usually bigger than the way we award them.