Web This Site

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I want my MTV: the quest for music television - with actual videos

April 14, 2004

If you’re in the mood to watch a music video, I have two words for you. Good luck.

Oh, you’ll find plenty of channels billing themselves as music venues. But, trust me, finding the “music” is a chore. I’m not sure when the idea of airing videos became outdated, but as an hour of channel surfing proved, it has.

The evidence:

MTV - Once the gold standard for the music video genre, now it’s barely recognizable. Not a video to be found. A show called I Want A Famous Face followed regular people through plastic-surgery makeovers to make them look like their favorite celebrities. A Chicago woman hoping to become a runway model wanted to be transformed into a Jennifer Lopez look-alike. Not exactly what I was looking for.

Then there was Real World/Road Rules Challenge. Again, no music here. Unless you count that soprano-esque “bleep” sound the censors used to snuff out the curse words. Two ladies - and I use that term loosely - were in an animated shouting match, complete with threats. I didn’t stick around long enough to find out about what. The general idea was, “It’s on.”


MTV2 - A spin-off channel of MTV, supposedly dedicated to getting back to the music. Well, I found a show about music. Does that count? Ultra Sound showcased band shake-ups and break-ups. Members of Motley Crue and Van Halen took turns explaining just what went wrong in their perfect worlds.

After that, the Hip-Hop Show offered 30 minutes of – you guessed it – ­hip-hop videos. Great if you love hip-hop, but I was hoping to see some pop and rock videos, too. Nonetheless, I tuned in for a couple and spotted Ludacris sporting an Afro that would rival Freddie Washington’s from Welcome Back, Kotter.

Moving on.

VH1- Ah, the home of the pop-up video and once my refuge from MTV’s reality programming. Surely, I would find some music here. No such luck.

Hiltons Uncovered: Paris and Nicky didn’t grab me. Neither did Hot Dads, a show about celebrity fathers such as Tom Cruise and Bruce Willis. At least proud daddy P. Diddy is actually in the music business. Up next was Spotlight: Hanson, an in-depth look at Hanson’s move to start their own record label to maintain artistic control over their album. Perhaps a good idea, considering MMMBop.

Should it really be this painful to find music videos?

CMT - I was certain the country folks wouldn’t let me down. But alas, no music here, either. Only Ultimate Home 2, Inside Fame, and In With the Band.

OK then.

VH1CL - Remarkably, VH1 Classic was playing videos. But as the channel name suggests, the videos were classics. Rockin’ on were Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Bad Company, just as they were years ago. I enjoyed the walk down memory lane, but I was hoping to find some current hits.

And then it happened.

GAC - There was Clint Black crooning about how he’s going to spend his time. The Top 20 Country Countdown was packed full of current hits. The videos were impressive, some humorous and some sad. And they all had one thing in common - music. Imagine that.

While there seem to be more music channels on TV these days, sadly, there are fewer videos being played. They’ve been replaced with reality shows, celebrity biographies and some programs that, frankly, words fail to describe.

Apparently, the networks are doing well with the change in format. But I just don’t get it.

I want my MTV. The one that actually played music.

Originally published 4/14/04 in The Exponent Telegram newspaper.


Copyright 2007 Tube Talk