MTV’s First Day of Broadcasting: August 1, 1981.
At 12:01am on that day, a few lucky households in New Jersey who were hooked up to cable TV, were able to hear that famous opening line: “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.”
It wasn’t until the summer of 1982 that I was first able to watch MTV, and I was absolutely mesmerized. I had just started my professional radio career, and I thought to myself: “Man, wouldn’t it be great to be an MTV VJ!” I was a DJ (disc jockey), but a VJ (video jockey) sounded much cooler. Alas, that is not the direction by career would take, and looking back, that’s just fine with me.
But, I still admire the pioneering video jockeys during the early days of MTV. No one had ever done that job before. Who do you learn from? Who trains you? What am I supposed to do when I get on set? What do I say? Where do I look? I’m sure they went through weeks of training, but there still were no mentors who had actually done the job before to which they could compare themselves.
Those five pioneers, J.J. Jackson, Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Martha Quinn, and Alan Hunter. In 1998, the MTV program “Ultrasound” got the original VJ’s together to reminisce about those early days and tell the story of the launch of the cable channel that changed the face of popular music forever. If you have a half hour to kill, it’s pretty interesting to hear their side of the story. It’s also great to see and hear all of those recording artists who were popular during those early days of MTV in interviews and on stage.
So, without further ado: “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.”
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Larry Martino is the long-time Afternoon Drive personality on 96.3 KKLZ. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of Larry Martino and not necessarily those of Beasley Media Group, LLC.