As hard as it might be to believe today, plenty of cable companies didn’t want anything to do with MTV when it first signed on in the early 80s. “Music videos? What are those? And that’s all you want to show for 24 hours a day? You’re crazy! We’re not putting that channel on our cable system!”
MTV fought back with a brilliant strategy that asked any and all viewers to deluge any and all cable companies with demands that they carry the channel. The “I Want My MTV” campaign was born. (Hey, where do you think Dire Straits got all those ideas for “Money for Nothing?”)
There’s an excellent book on birth and growth (and death?) of the channel called I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum. I’ve read it and it’s great.
The book has now been optioned for a movie adaptation of some sort. I have no idea when it’ll be out, but it given the vast amount of archival footage that will no doubt be used, it should be fascinating.