The MTV cable network launched 40 years ago this Sunday, 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.