Robert Mancini: Iron Man

For a hot minute there in the late 90s, Robert Mancini and I were the first two staffers into the MTV News offices every morning tasked with writing, producing, and publishing half a dozen stories to MTV News Dot Com before the television news meeting even began.

Robert wrote years of daily news articles, on-air briefs, and VMA pre-shows and specials, and, as Editorial Director, ultimately oversaw daily news across all media.

He played straight man to Diamond David Lee Roth, interviewed his childhood idol, Ozzy Osbourne, multiple times, and even got a private show from Pink Floyd.

But it wasn’t always champagne, caviar, and spotlights.

“Being backstage at a show is not super-exciting,” he says. “You’re in the concrete bowels of an arena eating a warm sandwich.

“Invariably you’re scheduled for a 2:30 to 3 p.m. interview. They show up at 2:45 and tell you they have a hard out at 2:55.”

“And there was always a lot of business with almost everybody: something for MTV Radio, The Week in Rock, etc.”

“So there’s the arithmetic you’re doing in your head. What are the three pressing daily news priorities? What is the biggest multi-artist package priority that we have? And then what are the other bits of business that we might need to tack on at the end if we still have time?”

Still, sometimes it clicks.

Robert recalls taking his father backstage at Ozzfest to interview, amongst others, late Pantera drummer, Vinnie Paul. Mancini’s reputation, apparently, preceded him.

“He goes, ‘I know who you are, dude. When I see your name on a story, I know it’s legit,'” he remembers. “And this is in front of my dad! Which is just the greatest thing that can happen to you.”

Listen to “You Hear It First: An Unofficial & Unfiltered History of MTV News” on Apple (, Spotify ( or wherever you get your podcasts.

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