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The "MTV lettering" differed on its first day, and included record label information like year and label name. Pittman recruited and managed a team for the launch that included Tom Freston (who succeeded Pittman as CEO of MTV networks), Fred Seibert, John Sykes, Carolyn Baker (original head of talent and acquisition), HBO also had a 30 minute program of music videos, called Video Jukebox, that first aired around the time of MTV's launch and would last until late 1986.

Also around this time, HBO would occasionally play one or a few music videos between movies.

Slogans such as "I want my MTV" became embedded in public thought, the concept of the VJ was popularized, the idea of a dedicated video-based outlet for music was introduced, and both artists and fans found a central location for music events, news, and promotion. MTV's choice to focus on non-music programming has also been contested relentlessly since the 1990s, demonstrating the channel's impact on popular culture.

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During MTV's first few years on the air, very few black artists were included in rotation on the channel.

Those who were in MTV's rotation included Eddy Grant, Tina Turner and Donna Summer.

The original programming format of MTV was created by the visionary media executive, Robert W.

Pittman, who later became president and chief executive officer of MTV Networks.

ABC's contribution to the music video program genre in 1984, ABC Rocks, was far less successful, lasting only a year.

TBS founder Ted Turner started the Cable Music Channel in 1984, designed to play a broader mix of music videos than MTV's rock format allowed.

Today, MTV still plays a limited selection of music videos, but the channel primarily broadcasts a variety of popular culture and reality television shows targeted at adolescents and young adults.

Since its premiere, MTV has had a profound impact on the music industry and popular culture. MTV's moral influence on young people, including issues related to censorship and social activism, has been a subject of debate for years.

Super Station WTBS launched Night Tracks on June 3, 1983, with up to 14 hours of music video airplay each late night weekend by 1985.

Its most noticeable difference was that black artists received airplay that MTV initially ignored. A few markets also launched music-only channels; most notably Las Vegas' KVMY Channel 21, which debuted in the summer of 1984 as KRLR-TV Vusic 21.

(Few artists made the long trip to New Zealand to appear live.) Additionally, in the book The Mason Williams FCC Rapport, author Mason Williams states that he pitched an idea to CBS for a television program that featured "video-radio," where disc jockeys would play avant-garde art pieces set to music on the air.

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