On This Date in 1983 Country Music Fans Had Their Eyes Opened With the Debut of CMT
At 6:19pm on March 5, 1983, country music fans had their equivalent to MTV with CMTV. Faron Young's "Four in the Morning" was the first clip played to the limited households carrying the network, but CMT is now in the homes of more than 90-million American households.
It was the first place I saw Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks and Shania. It was the first place I saw Billy Ray's mullet. For country music fans, CMT was once the only place to see their favorite artists, despite the rival network TNN going on-air just two days after CMT.
CMT was originally known as CMTV but dropped the name after MTV complained. MTV wasn't the MTV of 2015. MTV was still in its infancy, and CMT was only beat to the punch by a little under a year's time as the first network airing music videos. While MTV was going new wave, CMT had "gone country".
Much like MTV, CMT is now a network of just about everything EXCEPT music videos, but where else would we get "Redneck Island" and our "Dukes of Hazzard" reruns? Hell, CMT even gave Tom Arnold a show. That's taking a risk.
Even though we're celebrating 32 years broadcasting to America's heartland, CMT doesn't look a day over 29.