MTV will turn 35 on August 1st, and to celebrate they’re launching the new cable channel MTV Classic. It’s going to feature old shows like Beavis and Butt-head, Daria, The Real World, Run’s House, Cribs, Aeon Flux and Unplugged. This new channel is going to replace VH1 Classic, but many of its signature shows – Pop Up Video and Metal Evolution – will continue to be broadcast. Missing from the list of shows is pretty much anything MTV aired in the 1980s since they probably figure most people that enjoy that stuff are too busy raising kids and being adults to sit down and watch old episodes of Remote Control and I.R.S. Records Presents The Cutting Edge. They’re also outside the demographic most valued by advertisers.
We’re still hoping that MTV Classic will find a way to incorporate its vast 1980s video library into its programming. For a tiny sampling of what that might include, here’s video of regular MTV programming from November 5th, 1982. Alan Hunter is the VJ through most of it and he introduced videos by the likes of Genesis, Bow Wow Wow, Stray Cats and the Rolling Stones. He also showcases dates on the Who’s in-progress farewell tour (“sponsored by the beer that is rockin’ America, that is Schlitz and Schlitz Light!”) and tells viewers to tune in later to watch a Triumph concert. They didn’t have a ton of content at the time and were limited by the sad fact that very few black artists got any airplay, something David Bowie called them out for the following year.
MTV’s vault is overflowing with stuff like this. At least once day, they should show a solid block of programming from a random day in the 1980s, complete with VJ’s intros. It can even be in the middle of the night. We’ll set our DVR’s. Beavis and Butt-head and Daria are a lot of fun, but it can’t compete with Alan Hunter yammering on about Hall and Oates’ “smooth, smooth music” before teasing a new special about Toto. This stuff is gold. The public deserves to see all of it.