VJ Nina Blackwood Remembers MTV’s First Christmas Video With Billy Squier


The original VJs: Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, Martha Quinn and J.J. Jackson

In the first year of MTV’s broadcast, the whole operation was a tight knit group. Forging the path for music video broadcast, Music Television was still a strange place on the cable where you could find new music, wild visuals and a basement full of the newly minted “VJs,” who guided the viewers through this new world of 24-hour music for your eyes.

Positioned as the sexiest of the bunch, Nina Blackwood sported a sassy style & a raspy voice that made her a favorite among fans. When it came time to put together a video Christmas card for MTV’s loyal viewers, there was Blackwood, front and center, singing along with riff rocker Billy Squier to the tune of his holiday b-side, “Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You.” Blackwood told us some of her memories of that taping in 1981.

Everybody Wants You: Holiday rocker Billy Squier leads the choir, with VJ Nina Blackwood sitting next to him.

“This was the first MTV Christmas video. It was taped at our original Teletronics Studio on West 33rd Street and featured our original studio crew, who we all loved and were very close to, along with all the people from the MTV offices. Everybody traipsed down to the studio from 44th Street & 6th Ave for the taping. Billy Squier’s career was on fire at this time, and since he lived in NYC, he was a frequent guest at the studio, so it was appropriate that he was chosen for the video. Years later he told me that Hallmark Cards used this song in one of their advertising campaigns.”

“Pretty much what you see on camera is an accurate representation of the celebratory and fun feeling that was happening. It was like one big happy family, which sums up the entire vibe of the early days of MTV. One of a kind experience. When I watch all of these early MTV Christmas videos, the overwhelming sensation I come away with is that of joyous love.

You can catch Nina Blackwood spinning tunes on Sirius XM’s 80s on 8, as well as hosting the 80s Cruise in 2016 with some of her fellow VJs.



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