Throwback Thursday - Video Killed The Radio Star

Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 1:55 PM EST
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They say that music is the soundtrack of our lives and in this week’s throwback Thursday, Brian Bouchard takes us to a time when a new concept changed the way people discovered music. And a special note…Some Eagle eyed viewers may recognize the young Radio DJ in this throwback as someone from the WAGM family.

The way people discover and listen to music has changed a lot over the last 39 Years. Tonight’s story is from 1984…Back then folks listened to the Radio, LPs, Cassettes, and 8-tracks…but a new way of listening to music was catching on. In this week’s throwback Thursday, we dial the time machine back to when WAGM Reporter Frank Graff reported how Video Killed the Radio Star.

It used to be when you wanted to listen to music all you had to do was turn on the radio. But now if you want to listen to music you can listen to it on the radio, but you can also listen to it and see the music on television.

They’re called music videos and their greatest purveyor is a cable channel called MTV. In its launching in 1981 MTV was on 300 cable outlets, it’s now on 2000 reaching 17 and a half million households. MTV is now the hottest cable channel around according to local group W spokesman Tim Giggy, and if imitation is the highest form of flattery, NBC, other cable channels and local stations have hopped on the video bandwagon.

“84′s going to be the year for video and video music, there’s no end to it. For example, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, if you look at the technical aspect of it, it’s a very expensive movie, but you can buy it for 29 dollars.”

Though buying and renting music videos is still the exception, many people don’t have tape players, record companies are now putting out video 45s and video albums. Priced anywhere from 20 to 69 dollars. It’s a growing field but video music has also shot new life into the more traditional record industry.

“The biggest things is it’s increased peoples exposure to music. They get hit not only from radio at work or in their cars, and then they come home and they get hit a second time on tv. And we have a lot of people coming in requesting music that they’ve seen on MTV and we have an MTV Playlist that we use to help them find what they’re looking for.”

“It’s broadened the horizons of music. Artists that normally probably wouldn’t get on radio stations are able to do so through MTV. It gets the product out to the public in whatever form whether it be through the radio, through album sales or through video television. It’s getting the product out to the people so they can hear it and they can judge for themselves, if they want it, they can go out and get it.”

But video music, especially MTV has its critics. They say videos cater to heavy metal artists excluding other forms of music and artists, especially black artists. Some say artists are being picked up by record companies simply because they look good on tv. And some critics charge that artists are not writing quality songs anymore, they’re simply writing words that can be portrayed visually. Whatever the case, Video music is here to stay. It has sparked life in an ailing record industry and started a new video music industry as well. And the future seems endless with new technology making videos better. Radio and records will stay, but video music has come of age.

Frank Graff, Newsline 8