HOW DID SHE GET THAT JOB?


 

 MTV’s FIRST VJ NINA BLACKWOOD REVEALS HOW SHE CHOKED ON HER JOB INTERVIEW

 

When MTV debuted on the air in August 1981, music lovers nation wide were suddenly glued to their television sets, fascinated by the endless stream of music videos flashing across the screen.  Along with watching rock bands right in their own living rooms, viewers immediately embraced the original on-air personalities who became renowned as the MTV VJs.
 
The very first VJ to be interviewed and hired for the position was NINA BLACKWOOD.  An actress, musician and music fanatic, NINA was living and working in Los Angeles when the call to audition arrived.  Having already co-starred in the cult classic film “Vice Squad,” she and musician-manager Danny Sheridan and radical underground director “@mic” were already developing the concept of an imaginary video station, K.P.N.K., where NINA would conduct artist interviews between short “music-films" and original advertisement parodies.  Who more perfect to helm MTV than NINA?
 
Packing her bags and flying to New York City, NINA immediately impressed Executive Producers Sue Steinberg and Robert Morton, who wanted to hire her on the spot.  But NINA hadn’t been made aware that the job required a move to the East Coast, and wasn’t sure she wanted to leave sunny LA.  To try and entice her, Steinberg and Morton took NINA out for an impressive lunch at famed Manhattan eatery Tavern On The Green, located inside Central Park.  The trio order their meals, and while waiting for the food to arrive, NINA began nibbling on a roll when a piece of the bread became lodged in her throat.  As she literally choked and gasped for air, the entire restaurant stopped chattering to stare as Morton jumped up and gave NINA the Heimlich maneuver.  Luckily the procedure worked immediately, and the offending bit of dough shot out of NINA’s mouth and landed across the table! 
 
After gulping some water and catching her breath, NINA was able to laugh off the matter.  She recalls: “Robert really saved my life that afternoon.  When things calmed down, he told me that I owed him.  I said ‘OK, you’re right.  I guess now I have to accept the job.”
 
NINA went on to become as recognizable as the rock stars she interviewed during her five-year stint as an MTV VJ, mobbed by fans for autographs whether traveling across the country making promotional appearances, or just walking down the street in NYC.  She went on to co-host TV’s “Solid Gold,” and had her own “Rock Report” segment on “Entertainment Tonight.”  Today, NINA continues to be a pioneering female broadcaster with her show on Sirius Satellite Radio’s “Big80s” Channel 8, and her two terrestrial shows “Absolutely80s” and “New Wave Nation,” syndicated nationally via the United Stations Radio Network.

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