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Press Release AS MTV TURNS 25


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Hard to believe that rock music pioneer MTV is celebrating 25 years on the air this August, but original VJ NINA BLACKWOOD is not looking back. Having become a worldwide icon to an entertainment hungry generation, she is still on the forefront of media as a leading female broadcaster, currently hosting her own show daily on Sirius Satellite Radio’s “Big 80s” channel 8, their weekend “Big80s Big40 Countdown”, as well as two programs (“New Wave Nation” and “Absolutely80s”) syndicated nationally via United Station Radio Networks.

“I always thought videos would catch on, but wasn’t sure for how long,” she reveals. “MTV was a 50-50 gamble but I didn’t suspect it would become a global entity.” When the network first went on the air in August 1981, cable TV wasn’t even yet available in New York City. “For the big launch, we had to hire busses to take the staff, crew and journalists to New Jersey to watch the first broadcast on TV. It was a very emotional event, finally seeing the concept become a reality.”

After interviewing thousands of musicians, hosting countless music events and spending innumerable hours on the air, BLACKWOOD still has a few moments she fondly remembers as being the most memorable. “The experience of Live Aid was beyond words,” she recalls. “The cause was very important and it was thrilling being part of this historic occasion. MTV aired the concert in its entirety, bringing the event directly to the prime target, the audience watching.”

Beyond her wildest dreams, BLACKWOOD saw the video music channel blossom and grow. “MTV initially had an enormous impact on the record industry, bringing to the public a lot of bands that got exposure in middle-America, like Flock of Seagulls for example! The new groups were virtually in people’s living rooms. It broadened playlists, and more people bought records of artists they never would have heard of otherwise. It was a real shot in the arm for the music industry, which at that time was in a slump.”

That was not the only change MTV wrought. “Videos opened doors for creative people in the advertising industry, like producers and directors working on TV commercials who unexpectedly had all these opportunities to work on music clips. They got carte blanche to be creative. Then it flip-flopped and you started to see MTV-like visuals – quick edits, stop motion, life-like animation – creeping into TV ads and in turn, into movies. Suddenly music became important in movies and soundtracks were an integral facet of bringing bodies into the theaters.”

But there were some long ranging repercussions too. Says BLACKWOOD, “The negative side to all this was that it reduced the attention span and everything became now! now! now! now! now!”

Looking ahead, BLACKWOOD feels: “It’s interesting how MTV has changed. When it began, it was music driven. Now it’s become reality TV, appealing to the tastes of the current youth market. MTV has become what I call ‘lifestyle TV’.”

What does the future hold? “With the advent of all the new technology, there are numerous ways other than TV to see videos and other than radio to hear new music. The way people listen to music has become fragmented. They can listen to music on their computers, their iPods, their PDAs – it’s all very mobile and on the move. I wouldn’t be surprised if before long, we have our favorite music implanted with a chip in our foreheads!”

You can hear “Big 80s” with NINA BLACKWOOD on Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 8 Mondays through Fridays 1-5PM EST and the “Big80s Big40 Countdown” on Sundays 4-8 PM EST. “New Wave Nation” and “Absolutey80s” are each heard for three hours on weekends, with daily weekday Spotlights as updates, all syndicated via United Stations Radio Networks. Visit for more information.




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