MTV…a big disappointment

Published 8:41 am Monday, March 2, 2009

During our last Crossroads “hoorah” Thursday night, our Multimedia Manager/Creative Director/Resident Renaissance Man, Patrick Bryant, switched on a little music.

It’s been a long, a really long, Crossroads month for all of us here at the News-Herald, so anything to lighten the mood here is welcomed.

The song Patrick happened to put on was Def Leppard’s “Photograph,” and immediately I couldn’t help but think of a time when I was 11 or 12 and riding on a carnival ride with a boy that I liked.

Only it wasn’t “Photograph” playing, it was Def Leppard’s “Hysteria.”

After relaying the story to Patrick, he asked, “Isn’t it funny how you can relate certain songs to certain moments in your life?”

“Yeah, that’s what makes music so awesome,” I responded.

Our conversation soon wandered off topic somewhat, and Patrick and I soon ended up talking about how MTV is nothing but a disappointment now.

While other generations had American Bandstand and Soul Train, my generation has always had the MTV (Music Television) channel.

Or as I like to call it now, the Television channel.

For those of you that have forgotten, or may not even know, MTV did at one time play music videos.

With its inception in 1981, MTV changed the music industry forever. MTV added to the creativity of music.

Suddenly, there were vivid images to go with the tunes you heard on the radio and DJs were replaced by VJs (video jockeys).

Ironically, the first video to be played on the channel was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. And that is exactly how it went as people began to tune into MTV versus “tuning” into radio stations.

When I was younger, I remember my friends and I gathering around the television to watch the latest video from our favorite musicians.

As a pre-teen, music and MTV defined my life and then the newest MTV program, TRL (Total Request Live), came along…the next best thing to sliced bread.

MTV did its share in bringing attention to politics and social issues. But somewhere along the line the programming changed for MTV and music videos took a back seat.

While some programs were intriguing, like “The Real World” and “True Life,” others seemed to be time slot fillers.

Now days MTV offers “deep as a bird bath” programs such as “The Hills” and “My Super Sweet Sixteen,” and TRL, after slowly sputtering out for more than 10 years, was finally put out of its misery in November. It had been a long time coming since the program had resorted to playing 15 seconds of each video featured.

It makes me wonder when MTV’s inevitable end will come; after all you can’t call yourself the Music Television Channel if all your shows feature self-absorbed rich kids whining about how hard their life is.

Maybe someday MTV will get back to making teens’ lives a little more memorable.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: or call (252) 332-7209.