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20 Years Later: The Pop Stars, The Boy Bands, And The Best Of MTV’s TRL Era

Mary Katharine Ham and Kristen Soltis Anderson debate whose at the top of the late ’90s music video throne on this episode of the Federalist Radio Hour.


Mary Katharine Ham and Kristen Soltis Anderson are on the Federalist Radio Hour to bring back the boy bands, the pop princesses, Carson Daly, and the MTV music videos of the late ’90s. Looking back after 20 years, they debate who were the winners, the losers, and what are the younger millennials missing out on.

They focus on the era of MTV’s “Total Request Live” program. “It was an ‘American Bandstand’ for the ’90s where all of the teenagers in America gathered to find out what was cool,” Ham said. “It was really an arbiter for music, for fashion and for celebrity gossip.”

Anderson gives her reasons for ranking Britney over Christina, and NSYNC over Backstreet. “Brittany is an entertainer in a way that I don’t think any of the other ones were.”

Listen here: