Michael Alex: Golden Years

Few MTV News staffers had a run like Michael Alex.

For sixteen years of MTV News’ heyday, Michael did it all, from producing The Week in Rock and Choose or Loose, to spearheading the launch of MTV News Dot Com, and interviewing all of the greats from The Ramones to The Replacements, Mick Jagger to David Bowie.

His second assignment during his initial six-week trial run was a new band out of Boston.

“I’m 29 years old. I’m done with the idea of new rock and roll, right?,” he says. “And then we’re going to work with the Pixies! I mean, between Black Francis and Kim Deal, who look nothing like rock and roll, they are two of the coolest musicians you’ll ever know.”

“So around then I’m starting to think, okay, maybe it’s going to be more than six weeks.”

My MTV News story begins with Michael. I was a hapless, young Lifetime Television Web Producer when I met Michael at the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

“I remember exactly where you were,” he recalled. “You came from the lower left. And an hour later we heard Aretha Franklin rehearse!”

Michael hired me two months later to help take MTV News onto the world wide web. I stayed for 18 years. 

But this is Michael’s story, featuring straight talk with Kieth Richards, fact finding with Lou Reed, nearly coming to blows with Roland Gift and much, much more. 

“The rock and roll component and being able to like and work and hire people in that space [like MTV News] was a great way to avoid becoming an adult.”

Listen to my limited-series podcast, You Hear It First: An Unofficial & Unfiltered History of MTV News, on Apple (apple.co/3LNpe0C), Spotify (bit.ly/3TEsduX) or at friendsandneighborsshow.com now.

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