MTV Turns 40! VJs Look Back on the Network's Biggest Milestones (Exclusive)
By Antoinette Bueno
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The music channel that changed pop culture forever is turning 40. MTV is celebrating its 40th anniversary on Aug. 1, and ET is revisiting the channel's biggest moments with two of its most beloved VJs.
ET spoke with both Kurt Loder and SuChin Pak, who talked about the impact of MTV. Loder, 76, joined MTV in 1987 and broke big news stories like the death of Kurt Cobain and was in the middle of such infamous pop culture moments as Courtney Love crashing his 1995 MTV VMA interview with Madonna by throwing a makeup compact at her. Loder reflected on the early days of the channel and the doubts executives had.
"I remember when we first started doing MTV News, nobody thought it would work," he tells ET's Kevin Frazier. "They thought it was stupid. They thought we were stupid."
"At the time, I don't think anybody in mainstream media -- I can't believe I used that phrase -- had much respect for the youth audience," he adds. "What do they need the news for? Didn't even have brains. So, the idea of getting kids interested in politics was new, I mean, was just not something that was going on at the time."
As for 44-year-old Pak, she recalled the unforgettable energy.
"Everybody knew when you had a big star in the building," she says. "You know, we all got the internal memo, we were just excited as the audience member. So, it was like, you know, Beyonce is on floor 6!"
"It was massive, you never knew what you were gonna get," she adds. "You know, was Kanye gonna talk this week? You know, was Diddy gonna show up on a semi-truck? You know, is Gaga gonna wear a meat dress? ... all the moments. But for me too on the news side, what we were really lucky to do was we got to be a part of presidential debates and ... I was in Haiti [in 2010] as the aid was being given out post-earthquake there."
Pak conducted plenty of interviews with A-listers during her run at MTV, including an interview with a then-21-year-old Britney Spears.
"During that time was really when these sort of pop bands and Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, that was like, that was all that there was," she points out. "They were titans of the music and pop culture industry. So, they're so guarded in terms of how many people you have to sort of vet to get to who this person is. And when they're finally there, I think that at 21, you know, she's been in the spotlight for so long and suddenly she's the biggest pop star in the world. So, I think there's a sense of vulnerability with her, I've always felt that. I've always felt that once you got to sit in front of her, there was a sense to her that always felt very unguarded and very vulnerable for someone as huge."
"She was not the type of pop star that was media-trained, she was not," she continues. "There was always a vulnerability to her that felt both strong and fragile. You always felt like leaving your number and be like, 'Call me! If you are just lonely, you want to watch a movie.'"
But Pak says for her personally, her most memorable interviews were with JAY-Z and Gwen Stefani.
"There was just this whole era of Gwen Stefani and Gwen Stefani has had just such a long career but, I mean, she was to me, the epitome of cool and also one of the kindest, most real. Those kinds of moments are pretty rare. I think you're either meeting someone who's so unattainable and kind of, you know, they're just going through the talking points, or you're meeting someone who's really young and they have something to prove."