Who Tells Martha Quinn What to Do with Her Roll from Tv Rock? Try Stepmom Jane Bryant Quinn
03/21/1983 at 01:00 AM EST
As a video jockey on cable's hugely popular rock music network, Music Television (MTV), Martha Quinn, 23, knows all about heavy metal. But when it comes to small change, she tunes in another star on her family network: Jane Bryant Quinn, 44, the ubiquitous personal finance adviser and author of 1979's hit guide Everyone's Money Book. In return for tips, Martha teaches her stepmother, Jane, about hot rockers like Oingo Boingo or Adam Ant. Not exactly the fairest exchange. Said Jane, during a visit to MTV's Manhattan studio: "This is my favorite way to watch MTV: all Martha and less music."
At least Jane now knows how Martha earns more than 200 fan letters a week from MTV's audience of 10 million subscribers. Since the channel's August 1981 debut, Martha and four other veejays have revved up rock fans by chatting between the three-to-five-minute musical videotapes that provide most of the round-the-clock programming. Each morning she studies up on the day's choices among the 1,000 videos in MTV's library, of which some are straight concerts, others are staged like minidramas, and all are provided by record firms. Then, when she isn't interviewing folks like Billy Joel or Yoko Ono, she spends an hour taping the 30 or so brief appearances she makes on one of her daily five-hour afternoon shows.
"At first I thought a veejay sat on camera and played records," says Martha, recalling her MTV audition. As a broadcast journalism major at New York University, she had run three campus radio shows and acted in 15 TV ads for such products as Hallmark Cards and Chicken McNuggets. But her unfamiliarity with rock video was offset by her pert (5'1") good looks, chirrupy voice and natural rapport with viewers. Says MTV executive producer Julian Goldberg: "It's as if Martha were born to be on TV. She relates to a camera the way the rest of us relate to people."
Martha grew up in Ossining, N.Y. with her mom, Nina Pattison, now a retirement counselor in Boston. Her father and second wife Jane married in 1967 and later settled in Chappaqua, N.Y., where he practices law. Though Jane's work load includes CBS Morning News spots, columns for Newsweek and newspapers, and lectures, she and Martha are very close. "When I talk about my parents, I'm talking about three people," says Martha. "My own mother put the creative seed in me but Janey taught me discipline and perseverence."
She also advised Martha on what to do with a salary that she'll describe only as "in five figures": Buy a co-op and open a money market fund. Martha did both, and now lives in a one-bedroom Greenwich Village apartment she bought for $87,500. She shares the pad with boyfriend Adam Kimmel, 22, a movie cameraman who worked on My Favorite Year.
Recently Jane visited Martha's digs to help unpack boxes that had been untouched since November. Jane reached into one and pulled out a skinny necktie. Jane: "This is the world's ugliest tie." Martha: "Mom, that's New Wave!" "Looks like old garbage to me." Ah, that old familiar tune—the generation gap.