MTV or WWTGWTMMOTHTV?

Jason Cominetto ('10)/ Eastside Staff

mtv.jpgThe latest in music news, music videos, emerging artists and programs devoted to  the musical arts: despite what was once claimed, not all of these can be found on MTV.

When MTV launched in 1981, it was the country’s source of music videos and music news from around the world, packed conveniently into one television channel. Now, reality shows that do not relate to music in any way are constantly broadcasted, and viewers would be lucky to find any music programs featured at a convenient time.

“The Real World,” “Punk’d” and “The Hills” all make millions of dollars and don’t have any musical value.

“MTV isn’t MTV anymore,” says music enthusiast Ryan Carroll (’10). “I barely understand why they call it that now; there’s no music.”

In fact, the only music programs that are guaranteed to run every weekday are “MTV Video Wake-Up” and “The Big Ten,” airing from 6 am to 10 am. On Saturday, the only non-reality music program plays for half an hour at 6 am, and on Sunday for half an hour at 4:30 am. So, out of the 168 hours in a week, MTV is only guaranteeing their viewers that 21 of them are non-reality shows affiliated with music. The other 88 percent of shows include reruns of “Cribs,” “MADE” and “Parental Control,” among other programs.

“The new MTV is the most corrupting channel on TV today,” said an outraged Brett Israel (’10). “The life projected by the channel is unrealistic and should be cancelled. It supports underage drinking and only promotes the lives of people that producers feed things to. The reality shows are not reality, they are fiction, and they are the so-called perfect life. Fantasy, not reality.”

But even if MTV has changed its approach from what it was before, these changes can be seen as a positive. The material may be different, but the number of viewers continues to increase as the younger generation of viewers MTV aims to please continues to find entertainment value in such reality shows as “Laguna Beach.”

“I like watching MTV, especially ‘A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila’ because she’s a bisexual which is something I find interesting,” says Lera Phillips (’10). “I also enjoy watching the music in the morning because I like the music they play.”

Almost every show on MTV is meant to be viewed by people in either high school or college. But it’s not just teenagers that enjoy watching sparks fly and relationships explode, as some of MTV’s older fans continue to watch the channel.

“When they first came out, I liked watching the reality shows on MTV because it was different from anything else on television at the time,” says mother of two Elisa Widman. “I still enjoy watching them and have been a fan of them since they began.”

This proves that even if the content has changed, the people at MTV know how to make their programs appealing to people of all ages, even if their shows come off as meant for younger viewers. So even if “Yo! MTV Raps” has been replaced by “My Super Sweet 16,” the big shots up in the MTV office can sleep easy knowing they’ve kept a good deal of their fans over the years. However, even though these shows hold entertainment value for some, others, including Aaron Sheehan (‘10), are outraged by the lack of music programs on a channel with “music” in its title.

“Last time I checked, MTV stood for Music Television,” he wrote. “I don’t see any music on there anymore, so why MTV? Call it WWTGWTMMOTHTV: Wealthy White Teenage Girls With Too Much Money On Their Hands Television.”

But from fans like Widman remaining loyal to the channel to people like Sheehan, it seems everyone has an opinion on the topic. Whether one agrees with the programming or not, it’s undeniable that MTV is a television juggernaut with no signs of slowing down. “Cribs” may have replaced “Amp” and “Wild ‘N Out” may have replaced the “Top 20 Video Countdown,” but MTV continues to air, much to the pleasure and dislike of viewers of all ages across America. Hopefully there will be more music related programs added in the future and MTV realizes that even though its reality shows may make profit, its job is to make TV about music.