The MTV cable network launched 41 years ago this today, at 12:01 a.m. ET on August 1st, 1981. During its first five months of being on air, MTV was available in only 2.1 million homes in the U.S. -- with New York City one of the major spots that did not receive the signal.
The lack of MTV being carried across the country by various cable providers resulted in one of the '80s most legendary marketing campaigns with top artists of the day appearing on MTV commercials, demanding fans to contact their cable outlets with the soon-to-be iconic catchphrase: "I WANT MY MTV!!!"
When MTV first signed on it billed itself as a music network devoted to following "rock n' roll" from coast to coast. Today, critics blast the network for not showing any music on its airwaves, with the network now primarily comprised of original reality-based, "non-scripted" programming.
In 2012, the surviving original MTV VJ's, Martha Quinn, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Nina Blackwood, published their joint memoir-- VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave. The fifth of the original VJ's, J.J. Jackson, passed away in 2004.
Here is a video of the first two hours of the show as it happened....