MTV was originally a music television station devoted to playing music videos. Since it's debut in 1981, it has been responsible for setting trends and playing the most popular bands in music history. As the station evolved, it has created many original shows that have had huge impacts on television in general. In fact, its reality series "The Real Life" can be said to have pioneered the reality television genre.
MTV came about as a result of the popularity a channel called Sight On Sound. This channel was one of the specialized channels that aired on one of the first two-way interactive cable television systems in Columbus, Ohio. This system was called Qube and was created by Warner Amex Cable. It played music related television programs and concert footage.
It didn't take long before the Sight On Sound drew in impressive numbers. This prompted the cable company to expand the channel to other cable services. During this time the channel changed somewhat featuring music videos rather than concert footage and undergoing a name change. On midnight August 1, 1981, the channel received a name that would go down in television history, MTV.
Starting in New York and expanding from there, MTV would be in most homes by the mid 1980's. Their first video was actually, "Video Killed the Radio Star." They didn't loose their sense of humor when they first aired in Europe either. The first video played on MTV Europe was "Money for Nothing," which includes the phrase, "I want my MTV."
Today MTV has even developed another music television station called MTV2. Catering to young adults and teens, this station provides a mix of music videos, fashion, entertainment, and every aspect of pop culture. However, it also serves some serious purposes including educating young people about the benefits of voting, education, and following your dreams.