Huddled in a Fort Lee, New Jersey, bar on August 1, 1981, the group behind a brand new tv community watched anxiously as their mission hit the airwaves. Despite some early glitches — and having to cross the Hudson River since New York City didn’t carry the stations — MTV music tv was launched, altering the complete face of the music business and popular culture, as detailed within the particular Biography: I Want My MTV, airing September Eight at 9/8c on A&E.
Appropriately, the primary music video to air was The Buggles “Video Killed the Radio Star” — introducing a wholly new idea of tv, hosted by the primary group of MTV video jockeys, also referred to as VJs: Mark Goodman, Martha Quinn, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson and Nina Blackwood.
While most of their tenures lasted about 5 to seven years, the group has caught collectively all through the many years, writing a 2013 e book collectively known as VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV’s First Wave, and showing at occasions, like on the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame in 2019.
Jackson sadly died in 2004, however even at his demise, he had been planning to reunite together with his fellow unique VJs on Sirius XM Radio, the place the remaining 4 labored collectively on its 80s radio station.
Mark Goodman was already an skilled radio DJ when he landed the MTV VJ job after two auditions — together with one the place he mock interviewed a staffer standing in an “obnoxious Billy Joel,” he informed Gothamist.
“We’re a lot like your favorite radio station, but you’ll see your favorite music,” he mentioned in an early MTV phase, seen on the Biography particular. Soon the teleprompter scripts have been thrown away to present the community a extra rock and roll really feel, giving the VJs the liberty to advert lib. “This is not television what we do. This is something completely different,” Goodman described.
Since quitting his VJ function in August 1987, Goodman has persistently worked in the music industry, with tenures at KROQ, Soundbreak.com, VH1 Classic — and even working because the music supervisor for the TV drama Desperate Housewives. Since 2004, he’s been at Sirius XM Radio, engaged on channels like The 80s on 8, The Spectrum and Classic Rewind.
Just 22 years previous when she landed the job, Martha Quinn had finished commercials in faculty, however extra impressively, had a depth of music data.
While her function was amorphous when she signed on, Quinn grew to become a quintessential a part of the community’s model. Rolling Stone readers named her MTV’s Best-Ever VJ, regardless of leaving in 1986 after which coming back from 1989 to 1992.
But for her, it was at all times about her fellow unique VJs. “I was totally enamored with them,” she informed Emmy magazine. “They were forced to be with me all the time. And we’re all still such a close family today. It’s remarkable.”
Post-MTV, Quinn discovered her solution to different iconic TV exhibits, enjoying Bobby Brady’s spouse in The Bradys in 1990, guest-starring on Full House in 1992 and 1993, co-hosting Star Search with Ed McMahon in 1994 and contributing to CBS’s Early Show.
Now she’s returned to what she does finest. While she labored along with her fellow VJs on Sirius XM’s 80s station, she left in 2016 and now could be at iHeartRadio’s iHeart80s, and in addition hosts her personal podcast Talk Talk with Martha Quinn.
When MTV first hit the airwaves, the primary face that viewers noticed was Alan Hunter’s. But that wasn’t precisely the plan — there was a tape mishap and the unique phase didn’t fairly sync up, so there Hunter was, welcoming the world to the idea of music tv.
For the community’s first six years, he was on the frontlines. “We didn’t know really who was watching, but then you’d go to a record store appearance and there’s a thousand kids in a line,” he says within the Biography particular. “The country was going gaga for it. We started getting into the clubs and the bouncers started recognizing us.”
But he additionally had a way of the truth of the scenario: “We thought we were the center of MTV as the VJs, [but] the real parties, the real money, traveling the world in jets was happening in the executive offices.”
Soon Hunter discovered himself behind the scenes as nicely, moving back to his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, the place he began a manufacturing studio Hunter Films and leisure venue WorkPlay together with his brothers. He now additionally hosts the Sirius XM’s The 80s on Eight with Goodman and Blackwood.
J.J. Jackson maybe had probably the most expertise earlier than turning into a VJ, having began in radio in Boston and Los Angeles within the 1960s after which working as a music reporter for KABC-TV in L.A. But it was positively his gig as a VJ that carved out his place in popular culture historical past.
During MTV tenure from 1981 to 1986, he most notably lined Live Aid in 1985 and helped launch the 120 Minutes sequence.
Afterward, he went again to radio, working at L.A.’s KTWV and had left in late 2003, with plans to hitch Goodman at Sirius XM, when tragedy struck. On March 17, 2004, he died of an apparent heart attack on the age of 62.
Nina Blackwood was searching Billboard when she noticed an advert for MTV. “I sent in my resume and 8×10,” she says in her Sirius XM bio. “After two auditions, they hired me as the first MTV VJ.”
She left MTV in 1986 and continued hosting, taking cost of Entertainment Tonight’s “Rock Report,” in addition to Solid Gold from 1986 to 1988. Blackwood additionally discovered her manner again to radio with United Stations Radio Network’s Nina Blackwood’s Absolutely 80’s — and now also co-hosts Sirius XM’s The 80s on 8.
“Biography: I Want My MTV,” charts the rise of a cultural phenomenon that got here to outline a technology: MTV. What began in the course of the nascent days of cable tv as a scrappy, playful music video lineup, quickly developed into a mirrored image of American youth tradition. As MTV got here of age, the community pushed the boundaries of artwork, intercourse, gender and race, whereas cementing its picture to movie star. And when the knowledge revolution raged, MTV was on the forefront exploring new applied sciences. “I Want My MTV” weaves collectively unique interviews with the community’s founders and VJs, artists and journalists, together with not often seen archival footage and outtakes, together with an interview with the late David Bowie that was by no means broadcast on tv. The documentary, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2019 and have become a crowd favourite at festivals all over the world, particulars the story of a community that evokes youth for a technology now grown, and influenced the worldwide media panorama for many years to come back. Interview topics embrace Sting, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Billy Idol, Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, Nancy Wilson, Fab Five Freddy, Norman Lear, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and Bret Michaels amongst many others.
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