MTV Australia is poised to switch on a new, retro channel in the place of VH1. The music TV broadcaster has also decided to place its annual awards gala on ice.

The MTV Classic channel will be ushered in May 1 on the Foxtel, Austar and Optus pay-TV networks, replacing the VH1 channel. To mark the launch of its new station, MTV will throw a grand party, described by the network as a "one-off live music event featuring classic Australian and international acts that have influenced today's music culture."

The new event, which will air during May on MTV Classic, will nudge the five-year-old MTV Australia Awards from this year's calendar. Whether the MTV Australia Awards will return for a sixth year is anybody's guess.

"The door is still open regarding the MTV Australia Award," a spokesperson for MTV says.

"We still very much believe in the Awards franchise," the MTV spokesperson adds. "However this year, as we start a new decade - and launch a new channel - we thought that we'd try something new with our flagship music event."

Targeting the 25-40 demographic, MTV Classic's programming will draw on the big hits and artists from the 80s through to the 00s. The likes of Madonna, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Michael Jackson and Prince will see airtime on the new channel, as should popular Australian artists INXS, Powderfinger and Silverchair.

MTV Classic will complement MTV Networks Australia's other music channels, MTV and The Music Factory (TMF), plus the network's kids' brands Nickelodeon and Nick Jnr.