was August 1, 1981. A new cable channel launched with a
completely new programming platform – music television that
offered music videos introduced by on-air hosts called VJs. MTV
was born, changing the music industry and becoming a driving
force in the popular culture of the 80s and beyond. Among the
original five VJs on the new MTV network was Nina Blackwood. She
was the raspy-voiced, super-sexy blonde that defined hip.
Nina has had an
interesting and varied career that ranges from model to actress to
professional harpist to on air personality (both radio and TV). She
stayed with MTV until 1986 when she left and hosted “Rock Report” for
Entertainment Tonight. She went on to co-host Solid Gold
with Marilyn McCoo and Arsenio Hall from 1986 until the show was
cancelled in 1988. She can be heard daily on Sirius/XM’s 80s on 8. You
can connect with Nina on her
We are thrilled to have had the
opportunity to ask Nina some questions about her time on MTV, Solid Gold
and weighty topics such as her pick in the Jake Ryan v. Lloyd Dobler
Is it true that you were cast to be
the band manager in “Spinal Tap?”
I was in the pilot for Spinal Tap but
played the girlfriend of Derek Smalls, who was played by Harry Shearer.
At the time they were not sure if Spinal Tap would be a TV show or
feature. When it came time to do the film I was busy with MTV and
unfortunately didn't have time. The manager was always played by Rob
Reiner, one of the creators.
We hear a lot from 80s fans that
lament the direction that MTV has taken. That is, away from music videos
and towards reality television. How do you feel about today’s MTV?
I hate to say it, but I don't like the
direction MTV has gone in at all. I'm not fond of reality shows and
watching people be stupid. Obviously it is working out well for them,
but it is certainly not the same animal and I definitely would not want
to be apart of what's going on there. However, I AM proud of what it was
like in the early days and thankful to have been a part of it when the M
actually stood for Music not Moronic as it does these days.
Talk about your time as a co-host
on Solid Gold. I confess, that as a 12 year old, I had no greater life
aspiration than to be a Solid Gold dancer.
Hahaha ... that's very cute! It was a
great experience. They sent me all over the country to do interviews
with the artists. The producers treated me very, very well. Had a lot of
fun with all the girls in hair and makeup who enjoyed dolling me up! Ha!
The dancers were amazing and all very talented and sweet. It is a good
What do you think about American
I think the addition of Steven Tyler and
JLo is a brilliant idea. Must admit I tried to watch it in the past and
got bored and thought Simon was extremely cruel. These two have added
some spice, a lot of humour and sympatico.
In an MP3, digital entertainment
world, are music videos still relevant?
Good question. Hard to say...all I can
tell you is that I do look up the newest videos online to see what the
artists are offering. As far as how the videos affect sales these days
... I can't answer that specifically.
Can you share a funny story from
your time as an MTV VJ?
Just one?! The whole time for the most
part was a blast ... especially the very early days at the original
studio. It was a bit of a free for all with all of us ... cast and crew
alike. A lot of behind the scenes stuff was hysterical.
Who is your favorite 80s band?
I have a lot of them as you can imagine.
Still love U2, Tom Petty, The Pretenders, Stevie Nicks, John Mellencamp,
Eurythmics, INXS - the list is endless...
Many of our readers love 80s
fashion. What was your favorite 80s fashion? What are you glad to see
come back, and what should stay locked away in the time capsule?
I liked a lot of Norma Kamali and Betsey
Johnson. I think legwarmers and spandex are a bit much...they can stay
in the closet.
We all listen and enjoy you on
The 80s on 8 – what else have you got going on?
I have two weekly syndicated radio shows
through United Stations Radio Networks: Absolutely 80s and
New Wave Nation ... along with voice over work and also a project
which I can't talk about at the moment ... still a bit "under wraps" as
And, finally, we recently had a
rather heated debate on our Facebook page about which 80s movie love
interest was more appealing, Jake Ryan of “Sixteen Candles” or Lloyd
Dobler of “Say Anything.” Which do you prefer?
Neither ... hahahaha ... not my style.
I'll take Keith Richards over any of 'em in a heart beat!
Check out our interview
with Alan Hunter!
Check out our interview
with Martha Quinn!