Today is the official 10 year anniversary of MSNBC. I was watching that day on June 15, 1996 and taped it. Somehow I managed to keep that footage all these years in my old and decaying tape library which I’ve been working on and off to convert to DVD the past few years. So here is an MSNBC blast from the past.
UPDATE: Someone narked to the content police and so most of these videos are now gone.
Jodi Applegate was the first MSNBC news anchor on the air that day. Here are the first minutes of MSNBC on the air…
Applegate served as the viewer’s guide to what programming was being planned for MSNBC. Here, Applegate tosses to Tom Brokaw in front of the White House to announce Internight and its first guest; President Bill Clinton.
The Olympics in Atlanta were only a couple of weeks away and MSNBC would be covering it with most of their talent reporting down in Georgia (and wound up getting scooped by CNN with that bombing footage). In this clip, Applegate tosses to Katie Couric and Matt Lauer to talk about the Olympics.
Back in 1996 the Dot Com bubble was still in full expansion and one of the ways MSNBC wanted to tap it was with a show called “The Site”. In this clip, Applegate tosses to The Site’s host; Soledad O’Brien, who talks about the new show which was based out of San Francisco.
MSNBC had access to all the resources of NBC News and that meant all the file footage stored over the years in its archives. In trying to utilize that footage, MSNBC came up with “Time and Again”. In this clip, Applegate tosses to the show’s host; Jane Pauley, who talks about the program.
MSNBC wanted to have a flagship broadcast to cover the day’s news. NBC News White House correspondent Brian Williams was tapped to anchor the fledgling broadcast. At the time many thought Williams was taking a big risk with his future with this move. Who knew? In this clip, Applegate tosses to Williams who talks about the program; “The News with Brian Williams”.
Of course the whole point of the MSNBC partnership between NBC and Microsoft was to synergize the Internet and TV News and a cornerstone of that was MSNBC.com. Here Applegate goes live to Washington; the location of MSNBC.com.
As I watched this footage again for the first time in years, I was struck by how much has changed in the last 10 years and yet how much has stayed the same. The talent has changed and the programming has changed but little else has. Cable News as a whole is still trying to tap into the Internet in new and different ways. The latest incarnation on MSNBC has been “The Most”. MSNBC.com turned into a rousing success. MSNBC is still working with a live/tape formula only the format of the taped programming has changed. The Olympics continue to boost MSNBC’s ratings (though they don’t hold). Newsmaker programs are still going on on MSNBC only the format has changed to the host dominated style of Tucker, Countdown, Hardball, and Scarborough Country. The one glaring hole in my opinion is the lack of a flagship news program. I still regret the decision to move The News to CNBC where it eventualy died.
UPDATE: An emailer wrote in to note that this morning MSNBC played a clip of the opening moments for the channel…