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MTV's lower third graphics that appeared near the beginning and end of music videos would eventually use the recognizable Kabel typeface for about 25 years. Miller is credited as being the first technical director to officially launch MTV from its New York City-based network operations facility.But these graphics differed on MTV's first day of broadcast; they were set in a different typeface and included information such as the year and record label name. Pittman recruited and managed a team for the launch that included Tom Freston (who succeeded Pittman as CEO of MTV Networks), Fred Seibert, John Sykes, Carolyn Baker (original head of talent and acquisition), Julian Goldberg, Steve Lawrence, Geoff Bolton; studio producers and MTV News writers/associate producers Liz Nealon, Nancy La Pook and Robin Zorn; Steve Casey (creator of the name "MTV" and its first program director), Marcy Brafman, Ronald E. MTV's effect was immediate in areas where the new music video channel was carried.Within two months, record stores in areas where MTV was available were selling music that local radio stations were not playing, such as Men at Work, Bow Wow Wow and the Human League.The original purpose of MTV was to be "music television", playing music videos 24 hours a day and seven days a week, guided by on-air personalities known as VJs, or video jockeys.The original slogans of the channel were "You'll never look at music the same way again", and "On cable.In stereo." MTV's earliest format was modeled after AOR (album-oriented rock) radio; MTV would transition to mimic a full Top 40 station in 1984.
Pittman's boss Warner-Amex executive vice president John Lack had shepherded Pop Clips, a television series created by former Monkee-turned solo artist Michael Nesmith, whose attention had turned to the music video format in the late 1970s.
Those words were immediately followed by the original MTV theme song, a crunching rock tune composed by Jonathan Elias and John Petersen, playing over the American flag changed to show MTV's logo changing into various textures and designs.
MTV producers Alan Goodman and Fred Seibert used this public domain footage as a concept; Seibert said that they had originally planned to use Neil Armstrong's "One small step" quote, but lawyers said that Armstrong owned his name and likeness and that he had refused, so the quote was replaced with a beeping sound.
In his book The Mason Williams FCC Rapport, author Mason Williams states that he pitched an idea to CBS for a television program that featured "video-radio", where disc jockeys would play avant-garde art pieces set to music.
CBS rejected the idea, but Williams premiered his own musical composition "Classical Gas" on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, where he was head writer.
The Beatles had used music videos to promote their records starting in the mid-1960s.