Where Are The Original 1980s MTV VJs Now?

The original VJs Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson, Martha Quinn, Mark Goodman and Nina Blackwood (l. to r.) get together at Hammerstein Ballroom to celebrate the 20th anniversary of MTV
Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Carson Daly was the most iconic MTV VJ of my time. I remember the days when I raced home to see the new music video premiere on TRL that day. Before Daly though, there were five original MTV video jockeys or VJs that truly defined the era and the golden age of MTV. MTV musical television was launched on August 1, 1981, and changed the game. The very first music video to air was ironically enough The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” hosted by Mark Goodman, Martha Quinn, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson and Nina Blackwood.

Many of the VJs stayed with MTV for about five to seven years but they reunited in 2013 to write a book called VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV’s First Wave and even reunited as recently as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony in 2019. So, what happened to each of them after they left MTV?

Mark Goodman (71)

Mark Goodman

Nick Machalaba/Penske Media via Getty Images and Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Goodman was a radio DJ before he got the gig as an MTV VJ. After he quit in August 1987, he continued to work in the music industry, going back to being a DJ at KROQ, VH1 Classic and more. In the late ’80s, he tried his hand at acting and appeared in shows such as Married… With Children and The Practice plus movies Man Trouble and Police Academy 6: City Under Siege. He also worked as a music supervisor for the television show Desperate Housewives. For the past twenty years, he has worked at Sirius XM Radio on channels such as The 80s on 8 and Classic Rewind. Very appropriate!

Martha Quinn (65)

Martha Quinn

Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images and Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images

Quinn was no doubt one of fan’s favorite VJs and Rolling Stone readers named her MTV’s Best-Ever VJ. She left in 1986 but returned from 1989 until 1992. After MTV, she played Bobby Brady’s wife in 1990’s The Bradys and guest-starred on Full House. In the ’90s, she also appeared in several Neutrogena ads. In 2007, a PC trivia game called The ’80s Game with Martha Quinn was released. She currently hosts iHeartRadio’s The Martha Quinn Show and has a podcast called Talk Talk with Martha Quinn. A year ago, she was diagnosed with endometrial cancer.

Alan Hunter (67)

Alan Hunter

Nick Machalaba/Penske Media via Getty Images and Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

After he left MTV in August 1987, he moved to Los Angeles and traveled to Russia for a program called Rock in Russia. In the mid-’90s, Hunter decided to move back to his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama and started a film company with his brothers called Hunter Films. They also created a multi-use entertainment facility called WorkPlay. Hunter Films produced several movies including Johnny Flynton and Dreamland. Later on, he co-founded Birmingham’s Sidewalk Film Festival. He now hosts Sirius XM’s The 80s on 8 with Goodman and Blackwood.

Nina Blackwood (68)

Nina Blackwood

Brownie Harris/Corbis via Getty Images and Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic/Getty Images

She left MTV in 1986 to host Entertainment Tonight’s “Rock Report” and the show Solid Gold plus had appearances on Access Hollywood, VH1, MSNBC and more. In 1999, she launched a radio show called Nina Blackwood’s Absolutely 80’s and later Nina Blackwood’s New Wave Nation. In 2003, she performed in The Vagina Monologues. She now lives on a farm in coastal Maine with dogs, cats, horses and birds. Fun fact: The 1984 song “Missing You” by John Waite was written about her and other women he dated.

J.J. Jackson (d. 2004)

J.J. Jackson

Nick Machalaba/Penske Media via Getty Images and Evan Agostini/ImageDirect

Jackson covered Live Aid in 1985 and went on to help launch the 120 Minutes series after he left MTV in 1986. He went back to the radio and worked at L.A.’s KTWV for many years until 2003. He hosted The Beatle Years on Westwood One Radio Network from 1995 until his death.  Sadly, he died in 2004 at the age of 62 from a heart attack.

Who was your favorite VJ?

’80s Where Are They Now
Want More?

’80s Where Are They Now

March 2023

Who can forget all the great TV shows, movies and music of the ‘80s? See what your favs are up to now!

Buy This Issue