The Real World

The reason it’s so hard to believe that MTV is 30 years old today is that relatively few of us were aware of the channel in 1981.  I didn’t even get cable until my wife and I moved into our first apartment. Prior to that, I would watch “Friday Night Videos” on NBC.

The MTV format was created by Bob Pittman. When he was program director of 66 WNBC, he invited high school newspaper editors in for a tour of the station. I was one of those who attended. I remember meeting Pittman and night jock Michael Sarzynski.

The original five MTV VJs were Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson and Martha Quinn. A few of them knocked around L.A. radio in the ’90s. I had the pleasure of meeting four out of five VJs:

  • Nina Blackwood did the news for us on KLOS on an interim basis before Kelli Gates was hired.
  • Mark Goodman worked weekends at KROQ while I was there. He called me a few times to talk about morning radio after he got hired at Q101 in Chicago.
  • The late J.J. Jackson worked at KLOS before MTV. He came back to do some weekend shifts around the time I left. I only met him once.
  • Martha Quinn was a celebrity judge on “Star Search” the same weekend that Kevin & Bean were guest announcers. Several of us flew to Florida to do the radio show from Walt Disney World on the first day of “Star Search” taping. When Ed McMahon hosted a thank-you dinner for all involved, my wife and I sat at the same table as Martha and her fellow judge, Weird Al Yankovic and their dates.
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