August 1, 1981 - MTV debuts By Heather S on Aug 1, 2014 10:10 AM Thirty three years ago today, MTV debuted. At 12:01 AM on August 1, 1981, MTV launched with a numerical countdown, followed by the words "Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll." The first music video the new network played was "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles (above). To view the rest of the first ten videos, see "The Very First Videos That MTV Aired" at the Huffington Post. For a longer list of the first day's music video line up, see the Wikipedia entry "First music videos aired on MTV." See MTV's page about The Buggles for more on this British band. To learn more about the history of MTV, check out one of several books on the subject "MTV Networks -- History" from your Milwaukee Public Library. To set the musical mood for this reading, check out some CDs of rock music from the 1980s while you're at it!