Martha Quinn

Host


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her two-hour interview, Martha Quinn talks about her early years, and music she saw on television while growing up, on shows like The Midnight Special, Soul Train, and Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. She recounts being hired by Robert W. Pittman to be one of MTV’s first VJs, along with Nina Blackwood, J.J. Jackson, Alan Hunter, and Mark Goodman. She speaks of the early years of MTV, the visual style of the channel, and the kinds of videos MTV ran at its launch. Quinn details several artists and their landmark videos including Madonna’s “Material Girl,” Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” and Michael Jackson’s videos for “Billie Jean” and “Thriller,” which revolutionized music videos in the 1980s. She recalls interviews with several music legends, including Bob Dylan, Bono, David Lee Roth, and Paul McCartney, as well as recalling the impactful “I Want My MTV” ad campaign. She speaks of leaving MTV at the dawn of the 1990s, and appearing on shows like The Bradys and Star Search, and her more then-recent career on Sirius/XM and I Heart Radio. Karen Herman conducted the interview in a joint venture with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on February 9, 2018 in Malibu, CA.

"When MTV came into Manhattan, I would click on the TV and there we were. Like everybody else in the world when I first saw MTV, you literally couldn't stop watching. I would be late for my job at MTV because I couldn't tear myself away from MTV. It was so mind blowing."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Martha Quinn on the famous "I Want My MTV" ad campaign
Martha Quinn on interviewing David Lee Roth
Martha Quinn on how Michael Jackson changed MTV with "Thriller" and other music videos
Martha Quinn on how she came to be on MTV via an audition for executive Robert W. Pittman
Martha Quinn on television she watched growing up, including American Bandstand with Dick Clark
Martha Quinn on Madonna's "Material Girl" video
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early life and influences; on radio she listened to as a kid, and on her early musical interests; on television she watched growing up, including American Bandstand with Dick Clark
On watching The Midnight Special, Soul Train, and Saturday Night Live; on how she came to be on MTV via an audition for Robert W. Pittman; on her fellow original VJs
On MTV creator Robert W. Pittman; on the early visual style of MTV; on the early success of MTV
On the state of music videos when MTV launched; on the early production schedule at MTV; on the wardrobe at MTV, and on the early rules for on-air conduct
On how MTV influenced the 1980s, and on Bruce Springsteen making videos; on how music videos were chosen in the early years of MTV, and on the first video played on MTV, "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles

Chapter 2

On the MTV theme song; on how Michael Jackson changed MTV with "Thriller" and other music videos; on various popular music videos from the early 1980s
On MTV's impact on the music industry; on interviewing artists on MTV, and on getting her subjects to open up
On bad interview experiences; on the famous "I Want My MTV" ad campaign; on how she dealt with sudden fame and celebrity, and on leaving MTV
On the MTV Video Music Awards, and on hosting MTV Prime with Martha Quinn, and on the changes to MTV over the years; on her favorite MTV moments, and on the power of television and rock and roll music; on Live Aid

Chapter 3

On playing "Tracy Brady," wife of "Bobby Brady," on The Bradys; on appearing on Star Search with Ed McMahon; on how MTV changed the aesthetic of television
On her experience of being a woman in the television industry; on what people who remember her as an MTV VJ say to her on the street, and on being a 1980s spokesperson
On career achievements and regrets; on advice to aspiring television hosts; on her then-future
Shows

Bradys, The

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Martha Quinn on playing "Tracy Brady," wife of "Bobby Brady," on The Bradys and various other shows

Live Aid

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Martha Quinn on Live Aid

MTV Prime with Martha Quinn

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Martha Quinn on hosting MTV Prime with Martha Quinn, and on the changes to MTV over the years

MTV Video Music Awards

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Martha Quinn on the MTV Video Music Awards

Midnight Special, The

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Martha Quinn on watching The Midnight Special

Saturday Night Live

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Martha Quinn on watching Soul Train and Saturday Night Live

Star Search

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Martha Quinn on appearing on Star Search with Ed McMahon
Topics

Advice

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Martha Quinn on advice to aspiring television hosts

Characters & Catchphrases

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Martha Quinn on the famous "I Want My MTV" ad campaign

Diversity in Television

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Martha Quinn on her experience of being a woman in the television industry

Fame and Celebrity

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Martha Quinn on how she dealt with sudden fame and celebrity, and on leaving MTV
Martha Quinn on what people who remember her as an MTV VJ say to her on the street, and on being a 1980s spokesperson

Historic Events and Social Change

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Martha Quinn on her experience of being a woman in the television industry

Network Creation

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Martha Quinn on her fellow original MTV VJs
Martha Quinn on the early visual style of MTV
Martha Quinn on the state of music videos when MTV launched
Martha Quinn on the early production schedule at MTV
Martha Quinn on the wardrobe at MTV, and on the early rules for on-air conduct
Martha Quinn on how MTV influenced the 1980s, and on Bruce Springsteen making videos
Martha Quinn on how music videos were chosen in the early years of MTV, and on the first video played on MTV, "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles

Pop Culture

View Topic
Martha Quinn on the MTV theme song
Martha Quinn on Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" video
Martha Quinn on Madonna's "Material Girl" video
Martha Quinn on A-ha's "Take On Me" video and other videos
Martha Quinn on the famous "I Want My MTV" ad campaign
Martha Quinn on how she dealt with sudden fame and celebrity, and on leaving MTV
Martha Quinn on her favorite MTV moments, and on the power of television and rock and roll music
Martha Quinn on what people who remember her as an MTV VJ say to her on the street, and on being a 1980s spokesperson

TV Theme Songs

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Martha Quinn on the MTV theme song

Television Industry

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Martha Quinn on her fellow original MTV VJs
Martha Quinn on the early visual style of MTV
Martha Quinn on the early success of MTV
Martha Quinn on the state of music videos when MTV launched
Martha Quinn on the early production schedule at MTV
Martha Quinn on the wardrobe at MTV, and on the early rules for on-air conduct
Martha Quinn on how MTV influenced the 1980s, and on Bruce Springsteen making videos
Martha Quinn on how music videos were chosen in the early years of MTV, and on the first video played on MTV, "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles
Martha Quinn on MTV's impact on the music industry
Martha Quinn on how MTV changed the aesthetic of television
Martha Quinn on advice to aspiring television hosts

Women

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Martha Quinn on her experience of being a woman in the television industry
Professions

Hosts

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Martha Quinn on bad interview experiences
Genres

Awards Shows

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Martha Quinn on the MTV Video Music Awards

Comedy Series

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Martha Quinn on playing "Tracy Brady," wife of "Bobby Brady," on The Bradys

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Martha Quinn on being an MTV VJ
Martha Quinn on hosting MTV Prime with Martha Quinn, and on the changes to MTV over the years
Martha Quinn on Live Aid

Reality TV

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Martha Quinn on appearing on Star Search with Ed McMahon
People

Dick Clark

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Martha Quinn on television she watched growing up, including American Bandstand with Dick Clark

Bob Dylan

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Martha Quinn on interviewing Bob Dylan and Bono, and on preparing for interviews

Michael Jackson

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Martha Quinn on how Michael Jackson changed MTV with "Thriller" and other music videos

Paul McCartney

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Martha Quinn on interviewing Paul McCartney, and on getting interview subjects to open up

Robert W. Pittman

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Martha Quinn on how she came to be on MTV via an audition for executive Robert W. Pittman
Martha Quinn on MTV creator Robert W. Pittman

Bruce Springsteen

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Martha Quinn on Bruce Springsteen making music videos in the 1980s

All Interviews

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