MTV takes a break from Daytona


MTV and college spring break used to go together like bikinis and beer on Daytona Beach in Florida, but next year the station will go elsewhere for its live broadcasts.

After eight years, MTV decided last week to pull out of Daytona Beach and cover spring break elsewhere, MTV spokeswoman Tina Exarhos said.

"We have not decided on a location," she said. "We're looking at a handful of sites on the East and West coasts. We expect to make a decision by the end of the year."

The decision comes after months of conflict over coverage of this year's spring break. City officials say MTV trashed the city's image by rerunning shows from last March while a veejay chimes, "Live from Daytona Beach."

That gives viewers the impression that the party goes on year-round in Daytona Beach, an image the city desperately wants to shed. One show, a beauty contest called

Beauty and the Beach, also was a bit too raunchy for city officials.

"MTV has really damaged us as a family resort," city Commissioner Bud Asher said. "If they cared about our city, they wouldn't have put this . . . on the air all the time since March."

MTV producers and Mayor Paul Carpenella met several times during the past month to iron out the conflict. MTV offered free TV spots to promote Daytona Beach and more control over programming, but the two sides could not reach an agreement.

Two weeks behind deadline on cementing its spring break programming, MTV told city officials last week it would not apply for a permit to use the Bandshell.

"They're not going to be here. That's a fact," Mr. Carpenella said. "MTV doesn't make or break spring break. It will go on without them."

MTV officials downplayed the conflict and said it did not have an impact on their decision.

"MTV has done spring break in Daytona Beach for eight years, so we're always looking for something fresh," Ms. Exarhos said. hTC "It's more in the interest of making a change."

Some city officials hope MTV can be lured back in 1995. The network has 50 million viewers and hefty marketing clout, as evidenced by President Clinton's use of the station to get votes, mayoral adviser Roger Busch said.

The conflict is the latest in the growing debate on how to clean up spring break in Daytona Beach. Surveys of residents and hotel owners show the event is losing its appeal.

Although spring break brings in about $140 million a year, many say they believe it costs much more in lost revenues from family vacationers.

"It's unknown what impact -- negatively or positively -- this will have on spring break. It will take years to determine that," said Suzanne Heddy, a spring break coordinator for the chamber of commerce.

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