As an added touch to make the network more like a televised radio station, the early years of the network featured jingles in their bumpers produced by JAM Creative Productions in Dallas, who had previously made jingles for radio stations worldwide.The format left room for occasional ad-libs by the VJ, a godsend for emcees such as Imus and O'Donnell.Its early on-camera personalities were New York radio veterans Don Imus (then of WNBC), Frankie Crocker (then program director and DJ for WBLS), Scott Shannon (of Z100), Jon Bauman ("Bowzer" from Sha Na Na), Bobby Rivers, and Rita Coolidge.Later VJs included Tim Byrd of WPIX-FM (now WFAN-FM), a station whose eclectic ballad-and-R&B oriented format mirrored that of VH-1, and Alison Steele ("The Nightbird" of WNEW-FM).(It later expanded to 10 AM ET.) It consisted of music videos both past and present along with a 90-second update of the day's news & weather provided by All News Channel.The updates were typically shown twice an hour during the program.It was used on VH1 Classic (UK & Ireland) in 1999 to 2010 and VH1 Classic USA in 2000 to 2007 and is still used on VH1 Classic Europe in 2004 to present.
Typical of VH1's very early programming was New Visions, a series which featured videos and in-studio performances by smooth jazz and classical and new-age bands and performers, including Spyro Gyra, Andy Narell, Mark Isham, Philip Glass, and Yanni.During the week prior, classic music videos from forgotten artists/bands aired, titled Whatever Happened To...?The channel's playlist was gradually expanding, and, by 1994, included contemporary musicians such as Ace of Base, Melissa Etheridge, Sheryl Crow, Lisa Loeb, Amy Grant, Seal, and other slightly heavier, or more alternative rock-influenced music than what it had originally played, although favorites such as Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Rod Stewart, Cher, Elton John, Madonna, Phil Collins, Janet Jackson, and Céline Dion still continued to receive heavy play for several more years as well. The circle ring surrounding the logo was added in 1998.It was originally created by Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, at the time a division of Warner Communications and the original owner of MTV (MTV and VH1 are now both owned by Viacom Media Networks).The original purpose of the channel was to build upon the success of MTV by playing music videos, but targeting a slightly older demographic than its sister channel, focusing on the lighter, softer side of popular music.