Today Show: VJ: The Unplugged Adventures Of MTV’s First Wave Review
At 12:01 a.m. on August 1, 1981, MTV was launched and changed the landscape of pop music forever. At the same time, the birth of the Video Jockey, or”VJ” also took place. The original five VJs, Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson and Martha Quinn, all ushered in what would become a pop culture phenomenon. With the exception of J.J. Jackson, these VJs came together to write a book, VJ: The Unplugged Adventures Of MTV’s First Wave.
Nina Blackwood first auditioned for the job out in Los Angeles, and, when she choked on a piece of bread at a luncheon for the show, was then given the job as a result. Though she didn’t know that pop culture would be forever altered by the channel, Martha Quinn did know that her life wouldn’t ever be the same again. She left a job at a dormitory so that she could work full time for the channel.
Mark Goodman believed that the very first video that aired was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. Alan Hunter thought that the video that really legitimized music videos was Michael Jackson’s Thriller – the first 11-minute video.
Today Show: Original MTV VJs Talk About The ’80s
There was a little bit of behind the scenes juiciness, with Martha having dated Stiv Bators of The Lords of the New Church, the group admitting to having done plenty research into the drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, and other debauchery, and Nina Blackwood’s having a pretty condescending interview with Frank Zappa.
The crew also weighed in on some other pop culture icons from the ’80s. Cyndi Lauper? “Huge talent, and made a mistake with the wrestling thing,” said Mark Goodman.
David Lee Roth? Martha thought he was the perfect summation of the ’80s—the “Texas of decades,” according to her—with his hyperbolic personality.
Michael Jackson? They all agreed that he was a game changer, but who wouldn’t think that?
All of them, having had very little media attention since they went off the air, said that they would be more than willing to do it all over again with each other.