On August 1, 1981 a new form of entertainment was launched; Music Videos.  At the same time, the careers of the five original VJ's took off as well.

Neilson Barnard
Getty Images Entertainment
Neilson Barnard
Getty Images Entertainment


At the stroke of midnight, we got our first glimpse of what would be an iconic TV program of the 80's. MTV went on the air with a group of what they called, VJ's and the first video played was, appropriately titled, "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles. Let me assure you that those of us in radio at the time feared that song title might be prophetic. It wasn't, I'm happy to say. MTV is now regarded as pure junk and the days of the Rock Video are gone. But, during those first, heady days of MTV we got to know the VJ's quite well. So, what are they doing now?

Here's the answer to that question:


Quinn was  MTV's  answer to Mary Ann on “Gilligan’s Island.” Let’s face it, most guys had a major crush on her and, like Mary Ann, she had that hometown girl-next-door image. Rolling Stone voted her “The Best MTV-VJ Ever.”.  After a decade on MTV she landed a role on “The Brady’s” which was, yes, about the Brady Bunch. (About to be Re-re made)  Quinn also got booked as a character on "Full House," and appeared on a few  Neutrogena commercials in the '90s.

Quinn  married musician Jordan Tarlow (The Fuzztones); they have two children and live in Malibu, California. Martha, like many other people who were with MTV, hosts 80’s music shows on satellite radio.



Before Alan Hunter landed his gig at MTV, he was an actor and dabbled in music videos. In fact, he had an appearance in a David Bowie video before his MTV stint.

Hunter’s trademark was the he was part VJ and part comic. Sort of Disc Jockey meets Stand-Up.

Like Martha Quinn, Hunter serves as a host on satellite radio and owns a production with his brother. In 2003, Hunter Films produced the Academy Award nominated short film “Johnny Flynton


Mark Goodman was one of the few MTV-VJ’s to have actually been a radio personality prior to being an MTV host. Goodman was known for hosting “The Week in Rock and the “Top 20 Video Countdown.”

In 1987, Goodman bailed to become an actor and appeared in movies like, "Don't Be a Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood" and "Police Academy 6: City Under Siege"

Guess what he does now! Right, 80’s music on satellite radio.




A lot of people saw a lot of Nina Blackwood before she was an MTV-VJ. Nina had posed nude for the August, 1978 issue of “Playboy.” I guess if Martha Quinn was the Mary Ann of MTV, then Nina was the “Ginger.” She was more brassy, more of a rocker.

Today, in addition to being on satellite radio, Blackwood is host of a Sunday morning radio program in San Diego..


J.J. Jackson not only had everything it took to be a VJ, he knew the music better than most. His knowledge of music and his credibility helped him secure interviews with the biggest stars of the day.

Jackson was only with MTV for five years before he returned to radio. Sadly, Jackson suffered a fatal heart attack in 2004 at the age of 62.


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