|Owned by||Viacom Media Networks (Viacom)|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Headquarters||New York City, New York|
|Formerly called||MTVX (1998–2002)|
|Sister channel(s)||MTV, MTV2, MTV Hits, Palladia, VH1, VH1 Soul, CMT, CMT Pure Country|
|Available on most U.S. cable providers||Check local listings for channels|
|Verizon FiOS||Channel 213|
|AT&T U-verse||Channel 508|
|Part of a series on|
in the United States
|Programs on MTV|
|Censorship on MTV|
|Viacom Media Networks|
MTV Jams is an American digital cable television network that is owned by the MTV Networks Music & Logo Group, a unit of the Viacom Media Networks division of Viacom. The channel features hip-hop and urban contemporary music videos.
The channel debuted in 2002, replacing MTVX, a network that focused on hard rock and heavy metal which debuted in 1998. The replacement of MTVX by MTV Jams was explained by the network as being based on demographic trends and industry data that there was a lower demand for a channel devoted to hard rock and heavy metal than there was for hip-hop, rap and R&B; as a result, Viacom management made the decision to launch a new music video network over MTVX's channel space. The network's name was taken from a two-hour daily program block on MTV, called MTV Jams, which ran from 1992 to 2000 and was also the general branding for urban music broadcast on the flagship channel.
After its launch, MTV Jams' playlist became predictable and less random than it originally seemed. The new videos that were in heavy rotation were usually played once per hour or once per every two hours. MTV Jams was the last remaining MTV network in the United States to use MTV's original Kabel font for its music video credit tags, which the main MTV network discontinued in October 2007. MTV Jams switched to the font style used by MTV Hits and rarely by MTV itself in May 2011.
The network's logo had a minor readjustment in February 2010 to remove the Music Television tagline and a small quarter of the logo in line with the official rebranding of all MTV networks. The network had its first full-fledged change in imaging on April 13, 2012, in line with the March 26 re-imaging of MTV Hits. A new logo and imaging was introduced on that date, featuring all text in bold Helvetica, including a minimal-style logo with the 2010 MTV logomark next to the word "Jams".
The channel runs on an automated eight-hour wheel schedule that repeats three times a day, starting at 6 a.m. Eastern, and then resets at 2 and 10 p.m. ET. Promotional advertising, other interstitial programming and some events, such as the Ozone Awards are also carried on the network, along with various theme programming to promote album releases or other happenings in the music world. Beginning in the summer of 2004, MTV Jams added some variety to its programming. Along with MTV Hits, MTV Jams began to play more obscure videos, as well as a larger selection of older videos, than it had previously played.
Currently, the breadth of MTV Jams' playlist surpasses that of its sister stations VH1 Soul and MTV Hits, with several hundred more videos played on a regular basis. Most of the urban music videos that have ever aired on an MTV, VH1 or even BET can be seen on MTV Jams, as well as many more obscure urban videos that cannot be seen on any other Viacom-owned network, though usually the channel does not air music preceding the 1989 premiere of Yo! MTV Raps, except for a few small cases.
MTV Jams airs a frequent live game show, Hood Fab, hosted by Buttahman; in which two contestants (normally one popular hip-hop artist and one random contestant off of the street, although there have been games where two artists went against each other) are asked questions about hip-hop. The contests take place in various cities. The one who answers the most questions correctly gets a bonus question, to which a prize is awarded to that contestant. The artist normally just receives bragging rights and the "Official Hood Fab tube socks" while the random contestant will receive a prize of higher value as well as the tube socks.
The channel also periodically airs a short-form program called The Parker Report, hosted by Erik Parker; in each episode, Parker will feature hip-hop artists, normally under a theme (for instance, one episode featured the Grand Hustle team of T.I., Alfamega, and Big Kuntry King) to talk about recent problems or studies in hip-hop. In the aforementioned episode, the four discussed the autotune "T-Pain" effect and about how he rediscovered it. The cast will always come to a conclusion about the topic at hand. For instance, the guests and host came to the conclusion to, when using the autotune, either "shout out" to T-Pain or feature him on the record. The closing of the program will always feature the summarized point, which was "No biting allowed". MTV Jams features a music video as the "Jam of the Week" each hour of the day on Sunday mornings; the videos chosen are often premiered or popular videos.
Occasionally, MTV Jams will air special, unannounced alphabetical marathons of music videos by artist name, usually around holiday periods, or videos themed around lists such as most popular of the year, nominated for certain awards or that of an artist around the release of a new album.
From time to time, MTV Jams is also known to include special themed blocks of programming, for example, an hour of a specific artist or label's videos, an hour block of 1990s gangsta rap, or a string of reggae-style videos. These are always unannounced and spontaenous for viewers, in the vein of MTV2's original format.
In the fall of 2004, MTV Jams presented a week of shows titled "Takeover," where artists were invited to host a day of programming. Artists included Usher, Kanye West, Lil' Jon, Nelly, and Fat Joe. Each artist played their favorite videos and their own videos. Additionally, MTV specials such as Diary and live performance footage was played that related to the artists. This may have marked the first time the channel has ever aired any non-music video programming. In March 2005, MTV Jams invited 50 Cent to its studios to introduce his and his posse's music videos, as well as to play some of his favorite old school videos. He also spoke briefly between videos about his newest album and about his musical inspirations. At the time, these two specials were the closest to a VJ-presented program to ever appear on the channel.
Fab 5 of Summer '05
During the summer of 2005, MTV Jams debuted a new, larger logo in order to promote special programming called "The Fab 5 of Summer '05" that was running on the channel for the duration of that season. The "Fab 5" were five up-and-coming hip-hop artists that the channel placed a heavy emphasis on during the entire summer; these artists were Juelz Santana, Da Back Wudz, Young Jeezy, Tony Yayo, and Paul Wall. Da Back Wudz, Young Jeezy, Tony Yayo, and Paul Wall came into the MTV Jams studio to speak about their careers and to play blocks of their favorite videos. These blocks were rotated pretty heavily, sometimes several times a day, as such the summer of 2005 had arguably became the period of MTV Jams' history that has seen the most redundant and least varied playlist to date.
That same summer, MTV Jams moved one step closer toward its high-budget, show-based sister networks MTV and VH1 when it briefly aired documentary style programs on the hip-hop themed and MTV-produced movie Hustle and Flow.
Time Warner Cable previously did not carry the network except on systems it owned that were formerly operated by the now-defunct Adelphia Communications, systems where previous contracts with MTV Networks are required to be honored, and Bright House Networks, of which Time Warner Cable formerly had a stake in. This resulted in the network being unavailable in New York City outside of areas serviced by Cablevision; TWC is the major cable provider for Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens. MTV Jams and its sister networks were added in the summer of 2012 as part of a wider agreement between Viacom and Time Warner Cable to allow access to its networks over TWC's tablet applications.
The network is also carried on some cable providers in Latin America, South America, and Mexico in a localized form. In the Latin American country of Bolivia, the channel is available on digital television systems.
- Littleton, Cynthia (16 May 2012). "Viacom, Time Warner Cable settle app flap; Viacom channels to be available on iPad viewing service". Variety. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
MTV Jams currently has a hub on the MTV network website, http://www.mtv.com/music/hiphop/. MTV Jams playlist programmer Tuma Basa maintains a Twitter presence under the MTVJAMS identity mainly to market the network.