When MTV launched in 1981, it hired five “video jockeys” to serve as hosts. They introduced videos, conducted artist interviews, gave the channel a personality and became rock stars themselves to the teens and twentysomethings who watched the channel for hours on end. “The VJs represented the glue for them,” says Alan Hunter. “We're not a star like Jon Bon Jovi or Bono, but we were part of people's everyday lives.” Although their time at MTV was relatively short, they parlayed their iconic status into lengthy careers in music media. One common career path: stints with the next big music wave of satellite radio.
Martha Quinn, 62
At 22, Quinn was the youngest of the original VJs. Now she's the mother of two children and lives in Malibu, California, with her husband, Jordan Tarlow, formerly of the Fuzztones, a garage rock band. Quinn briefly cohosted Star Search with Ed McMahon and has worked as an actor, landing the role of Bobby Brady's wife in a Brady Bunch prime-time reboot as well as appearing on Full House. In the 2000s, she settled into radio work, first as a DJ on SiriusXM's ‘80s channel and more recently on a San Francisco radio station with an all-'80s format. Her old MTV boss, Bob Pittman, now the CEO of radio conglomerate iHeartMedia, recruited Quinn to his latest endeavor, assuring her that she could host the show from her Southern California home studio. But hosting the show offers her another perk: the chance to interact with listeners.
"People who love ‘80s music are people who are into good vibes, into supporting people around them, and it always feels like family,” Quinn says. “I really feel it's because it's almost like we all went to ‘MTV High.’ Maybe we didn't all go at the same time, but we all know ‘Professor’ Jon Bon Jovi. We all know Madonna. We all know so many of the same cultural landmarks, and we have a great understanding of each other."
Mark Goodman, 68
Goodman tried acting after MTV but eventually returned to his first career as a radio DJ. He worked at various big-market radio stations across the U.S., then switched to satellite radio. There he found a unique outlet, cohosting Debatable, a music talk show. Goodman and music journalist Alan Light interview artists and, with listener input, rank songs, albums, artists and topics on Top 5 Tuesdays. The show is about music from across eras, not just the ‘80s.