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Connector of the Day: MTV founder Bob Pittman

December 10th, 2009
08:21 PM ET

Known as "the father of MTV," at the age of just 27, Robert Pittman revolutionized the record industry by creating a channel dedicated to music videos. 

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/10/pittman.art.jpg

="Bob Pittman masterminded MTV’s success in the 1980s. "]

Although the origins of music videos go back much further, they came into their own at this time, in 1981, when MTV based their format around the medium. Due in large part to Pittman's business skills the channel became the first cable network to become profitable.

Pittman began his remarkable career as a teenage disc jockey at a local radio station in his hometown of Jackson, Mississippi. He has since grown to become one of the most prominent figures in media.

Now the former MTV CEO, AOL top exec and Web investor is taking a stab at the liquor market with his new high-end tequila "Casa Dragones."

Send in your questions about MTV and the media world in general to Bob Pittman!

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. marcio pedro

    it s one of the most fascisnating things invented in the world so far .,. because images can excuse words... i live in south africa and i dnt stay a day without watching mtv...

    December 10, 2009 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  2. dirk roosenburg

    Where's the Music gone in Musictelevision ???

    December 11, 2009 at 10:19 am | Reply
  3. Fernando Solimando

    I was once a fan of MTV until suddenly it swamped with reality shows such as "Cribs", "Pimp my Ride", "Sweet 16" to which caters to very young people and feel that the generation that built MTV to what it is now is being completely ignored. It's almost a statistical certainty: If I randomly flip channels whrn I turn my TV on and switch to MTV, 90-95% of time there will be a mindless reality show that celebrates materialism and shows that you're not who you are but what you can show off and have. Bart Simpson once wrote it on the infamous Springfield Elementary blackboard: "I want my MTV back!" Is there a chance we can get a channel that lives up to its name: More Videos and less Brain-Dead "reality" shows?! Thanks!

    December 11, 2009 at 10:31 am | Reply
  4. Arvis Kupacs (from Latvia)

    Sir,
    What do You think is it now possible to revultionize the world of TV by createing a new and as inovative chanel as it was MTV back in 1981? In what direction would You go with the new chanel if You had to start one now?
    Thank You!

    December 11, 2009 at 10:45 am | Reply
  5. Herman

    I remember when MTV was all music videos, all the time. Now, MTV has become just another station on cable. Do you like the programming direction that MTV is going with all these variety/reality shows and close to no music videos?

    December 11, 2009 at 11:18 am | Reply
  6. Peter Manchester

    I have a question: when will MTV play MTV again instead of all those crappy shows of people making themselves look like idiots? (think Jackass, Nitro Circus etc.)

    December 11, 2009 at 11:27 am | Reply
  7. Aubrey G. Nelms

    I watched MTV during my teenage years and loved it. I could see the title of songs and who sang them. I now hate MTV. Why do they even call it music televison? It should be called RTV for Reality TV. I liked the first shows of The Real World but that show was the begining of the end of Music TV and any quality shows. Showing conflict is the only thing reality show producers care about. Do you foresee in the future another True music station being produced or will MTV finally wake up and go back to what made them special in 1981?

    December 11, 2009 at 11:54 am | Reply
  8. D Concepcion

    Is there a way you may produce a show based on real college life? The idea is to make studying cool! The US is falling behind on so many arenas and since you have the power and influence to do this, why not? This could be a great show idea! Maybe a show at an Ivy league school, the Big Ten and a Community College!

    dconcept1@live.com

    December 11, 2009 at 12:00 pm | Reply
  9. louise

    Are you bringing some of the same business techniques to your new tequila that you brought to MTV?

    December 11, 2009 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  10. Marklar

    Why doesn't MTV ever show music videos anymore?

    December 11, 2009 at 12:43 pm | Reply
  11. Jeff Andrews

    If you agree with the statement "Video Killed the Radio Star" would you also agree that Reality shows killed the Video Star?

    December 11, 2009 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  12. Chris Johnson

    Hello Sir,
    With the impact that MTV has on today's youth, does your conscience ever bother you? With the power, money and ability to have made such a positive impact to influential youth, why haven't you done so? It always amazes me that when an actor or musician do or say inappropriate things, the excuse always is; "if you don't like it; change the channel". I am running out of channels to change to! Thanks for contributing to the decay of western civilization Sir.

    December 11, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Reply
  13. Theodore J. Schminkel

    If MTV and VH1 aren't going to show videos all day long, then they both should change their names or just shut down. And play real music (with real instruments).

    I really don't care what CMT does.

    December 11, 2009 at 2:17 pm | Reply
  14. Garrett Wiwcharuk

    What was the most interesting show pitched to you, but couldn't run on MTV due to censorship, or what-have-you. Also, what's your take on Much Music, the Canadian alternative to MTV?
    Thanks! -g.w.

    December 11, 2009 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  15. D. Daley

    i think MTV was an amazing thing when i was a kid i belive it really stood for something special.

    WHAT HAPPENED???

    i think it has become one of the biggest corporate money makers out there. they sold out years ago. shows for ratings. reality tv. mtv has become a monster and the real music that people should see is blocked by stuff that will feed money into MTV.

    December 11, 2009 at 2:29 pm | Reply
  16. Olalekan Amusa

    I leave in west africa and I remember watching MTV when I was in my Teenage years.. It was fun and I still find it interesting to watch..

    All the best.

    December 11, 2009 at 3:27 pm | Reply
  17. Susan

    I've known Bob Pittman for years, since we attended Millsaps College together in Mississippi in the early '70s. He's not only a creative genius, he's a kind and generous man who hasn't lost sight of what's most important in this crazy world.

    December 11, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Reply
  18. Tony Salieri

    I have just ONE question for you:

    How do you sleep, after concocting first and presiding over its corruption later, the single most damaging artifact against pop music EVER?

    You should make public ammends, and be banished from listening to ay music (if you ever do!) yourself.

    As a professional music critic, I'll gladly spit on your tombstone. Better make your burial a very private affair.

    December 11, 2009 at 3:36 pm | Reply
  19. Xa

    jus to say "thanks"!
    I was 18 at that time, and was studying english on michigan...
    I remember clearly asking one of my teachers to explain to me the meaning of the rolling stone's "start me up" song, and she summoned as being "awakened by someone beautiful" "started"....MTV was my listening teacher after school hours....
    in a less serious note "I want my MTV" back (old one) now the channel is full of anything but music..
    Xavier

    December 11, 2009 at 3:38 pm | Reply
  20. gusovi

    MTV was created to broadcast music videos. What happened to that? Today there are awful and dumb shows. If MTV management doesnt care about this survey thoughts, ok. Continue being a crap channel.

    December 11, 2009 at 3:40 pm | Reply
  21. Keira

    Good afternoon and happy Friday (from frigid NY)!! My question is:

    Given the lack of music videos (and channels) today, would the recording industry benefit financially by showing actual music videos? Would there be an increase the sales of CD's(as opposed to downloaded music) because of it??

    December 11, 2009 at 7:02 pm | Reply
  22. Susan

    Tony Salieri...While I agree that "Video killed the radio star," as written and sung by the Buggles in 1979, to blame Bob Pittman for the corruption of pop music is like blaming whoever invented money for the corruption of capitalism.

    December 12, 2009 at 2:34 pm | Reply
  23. Patrik Slettman

    Tony... Go back to sleep. No one's listening to you and you don't deserve the explanation the kind Susan was willing to give you. Critic... LMAO.
    And your name,,, That's taken isn't it??

    December 20, 2009 at 9:59 pm | Reply

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