Her voice and face are instantly recognizable as the iconic representative of rock and roll at a time when music was fun, and changed the world. As MTV’s very first VJ, NINA BLACKWOOD became the symbol of all things hip and culturally on-point for a whole generation who looked to her as the final word on rock knowledge and history.
But beyond the smoky voice and sultry beauty, NINA has a heart of gold with a tender spot for helping abused people and animals in need, and is making it her life’s mission to make a difference.
After five wildly successful years as the face of MTV, NINA signed an unprecedented dual show contract with Paramount Television, anchoring both her own weekly “Rock Report” on Entertainment Tonight, and co-hosting TV’s award winning show “Solid Gold.” Her popularity led to appearances on Britain’s top TV network the BBC, as well as European and American network television and film appearances including “Live Aid,” “The British Phonograph Awards,” “The Monteux Rock Festival” and “Farm Aid.”
In 1999, NINA’s nationally syndicated radio program “Absolutely80s” went on the air, kicking off major new interest in both the music and lifestyle of the ‘80s. The hit show is still distributed by United Stations Radio Networks.
In 2001 – and until the station was sold – NINA helmed the coveted Afternoon Drive shift on Denver, CO’s top rated The Peak 96.5 FM. During her four hour live show, NINA drew on her vast personal knowledge the artists and times to enthrall her listening audience like no other radio personality. It’s obvious that NINA loves the medium of live radio and interacting with her legion of fans.
In August 2002, NINA began presenting “Classic” alternative music tracks on radical stations like LA’s fabled Indie 103 with her popular “New Wave Nation” nationally syndicated radio show. Always quick to provide personal anecdotes and insights into the music, NINA brought her appealing personality and engaging style of story telling to each program she did.
In May 2004, groundbreaking Sirius Satellite Radio launched NINA’s “Big ‘80s” airshift on their Channel 8. She continues to be heard on Sirius-XM’s “80s on 8” which airs Mondays through Fridays 1PM to 4PM, Saturdays from 8PM to midnight, and Sundays from 10AM to 1PM (all Eastern times), as well as hosting the “VJ Big 40 Countdown” with her fellow former MTV VJs Mark, Martha and Alan.
After graduation, NINA moved to Los Angeles to study acting at the renowned Lee Strasberg Institute. While perfecting her acting chops, NINA played her six-foot tall double action pedal harp, appearing nightly in lavish settings at the city’s top establishments. Her animated performances garnered rave reviews for their groundbreaking segues from Baroque style original compositions to rock classics like George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
A pioneer in the as-yet undeveloped field of music videos, NINA – along with radical underground director @MIC – developed a TV concept incorporating imaginary video station “K.P.N.K.” wherein NINA conducted artist interviews between short “music films” and original advertisement parodies, thus foreshadowing things to come.
Producers Rob Reiner and Michael Man cast NINA in the part of the band manager in the pilot for “Spinal Tap.” However, her next commitment took her to New York City, making her unable to participate in the final version of the film. This new job? The launch of MTV!
Speaking of the initial launch of MTV, NINA recalls: “MTV didn’t have any guidelines to start with, so I figured there was nothing to gain by being conservative. So I just let my imagination side reign!” The free-wheeling creativity that NINA brought to MTV helped define the successful format that ultimately changed the direction of the record, film and television industries.