32 years ago today, everyone who worked at MTV got into a yellow school bus and went across the river to New Jersey to watch the launch of a new 24-hour music channel. Why New Jersey? The network wasn’t on Manhattan cable yet. If you want to read more about the launch, the earliest videos, and the possible fishnet wardrobe of some VJs that night, then you should celebrate the day by picking up VJ, the book I had the pleasure of writing with original MTV VJs Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Martha Quinn.
“That night, after the launch,” Mark said, “I thought about how MTV was on forever. That was in my head all night: ‘Now we have to feed the beast.’ Over and over and over again, and it’s never, ever, ever, ever, going to stop. Shit. How are we going to do that?”
Now let’s work on making August 1st a national holiday: we can call it MTV When It Played Videos Day.