A Short History of Atlanta’s Video Music Channel

The Video Music Channel was added to Atlanta’s cable system on July 4, 1982.  The VMC studio was located in the basement of the Center Stage Theater, which was exclusively a venue for plays back then.    The VMC operated on a shoestring budget and its production value was often raw, but its producers and VJ’s were clever music lovers who seized the opportunity and created some really amazing television.  The channel developed a loyal following—including me and my two brothers—but its weak ad revenue could hardly keep the station in the black.  When the VMC was offered the chance to shift to broadcast channel 69 in 1984, they happily agreed.  Despite gaining a broader potential audience and a more high-tech studio, the ratings for the VMC at channel 69 weren’t great and management began to phase out music video programming in 1985.

Tom Roche arrived at the VMC in 1983 and served as its Production Manager until 1985.  In this segment he shares some of his memories of working at the channel.  Big thanks to Tom for providing some great archival footage for this segment.


13 Responses to “A Short History of Atlanta’s Video Music Channel”

  1. drew kane Says:

    i love the pepsi promo. i wish i had won a 2 liter bottle of pepsi on TV.

  2. Beth Says:

    “Sit up, sit up
    Dave people
    Let yourselves go
    The Dave Show!”

    I still remember that little ditty after all these years. Thanks so much for posting this – I loved the VMC; I remember being disappointed when I finally saw MTV because it wasn’t nearly as cool.

  3. Willis Leehan Says:

    Rather wonderful entry, very beneficial stuff. Never ever believed I’d obtain the info I need in this article. I have been scouring everywhere in the internet for a while now and had been starting to get discouraged. Luckily, I came across your site and received exactly what I had been searching for.

  4. Jason NeSmith Says:

    What happened to innovation? Nothing much has changed. And though things look different, the quo has just been rearranged. There’s forty seconds remaining in regulation time. Eastern in response (something something) you’re (something something blah) subliiime!!!!!!!

    YES! This station meant a lot to me as an early teen and budding musician in Atlanta in the mid-80s. We didn’t have cable, so when they switched to TV69 it was a revelation. I guess it was already starting to decline, but they still played Laurie Anderson, Wall of Voodoo, Kate Bush and countless others that I still love today. I remember Cousin Brucie trying to get rid of an Ozzy record. He was so disgusted by it and didn’t mind if you knew.

    And look at Pylon! Hooray!

    • Gil Says:

      The rest of the song:

      There’s forty seconds remaining in regulation time. Eastern in response (to the rhythm) you’re (viewing may be too) subliiime!!!!!!!

      WOW!! I’ve been searching for anyone who remembers VMC for YEARS!! Loved Dave Holmes. I hated when they moved to 69, because Dave became a regular, mild mannered VJ. I missed the antics. VMC was WAY better than MTV! Thanks for the video and flashback to my childhood!

  5. Thomas Benefield Says:

    There are a couple of things that helped me on my way out of the boring, mainstream music of the 80s. One was a group of teenagers that I was able to hang around as an impressionable young pre-teen, and the other was the Video Music Channel. Man, it was so great to be able to see these artists and their videos that were imaginative and fun and so much better than anything on the radio.

    MTV was a disappointment after the VMC, and now look at it. They hardly even play videos anymore. Not that it’s a bad thing because there are not very many bands making videos worth watching.

    Thank you for this great feature, and for reminding me of such a important step in my music education

  6. David Naugle Says:

    I was just singing the Dave Show theme song. Anyone know his real name?

  7. David Naugle Says:

    The Dave Show was Dave Holmes. Sorry didn’t finish the video.
    This channel still sets the precedence for the diversity of music I still love at age 42. WREK WFMU are sort of radio equivalents.

  8. Ric Says:

    Thanks so much for the history. I am starting to post some songs on Youtube by a comedy rock n roll band, “Truc of America” that played a concert on the Dave Show and I wasn’t sure of the date. I just remember the early 80’s.

  9. Mike A. Says:

    What happened to innovation? Nothing much has changed. And though things look different, the quo has just been rearranged. There’s forty seconds remaining in regulation time. Kneejerk is the response to the rythem, you’re viewing maybe to subliiime!!!!!!!
    Remember ‘SPIKE’? He will be there, but hopefully his shoes won’t…
    The Dave Show was the best!

  10. eholmes87 Says:

    Thats my dad Dave Holmes star of the Dave Show.

  11. Valerie L. Jackson Says:

    I was there in 1982 as a guest of my friend who’s Dad was a part of the creation. I remember the big Premiere Party. My friend and I were in charge of giving out name tags to the guests. I remember one Artist coming up to me and saying their name and that they were a member of BOW WOW WOW!! Of course I was just 14 and didn’t know at the time who that was….but I think back now and realize what an experience! The other fond memory of that time I was there was that RAINBOW was going to be one of the featured performers for the Premier Party…My friend and I with our “big Farrah Fawcett’s hair styles” were in the theater watching them rehearse for the show. Afterward one of their “people” came up to us and said that the Bass player wanted to know if we wanted to go out with them and party!! Things quickly changed when we told them that we were only 8th graders!

    • Tania habeck Says:

      Oh god, I’d forgotten about all that. The old videos really bring it all back. I don’t know why the name Mertzman never came up in the documentary. Dad or Norb put blood and tears into that place.

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