SHE GET THAT JOB?
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
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,
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.