Creator Of ‘Yo! MTV Raps’ Dies At 59

Peter Dougherty, responsible for some of MTV’s on-air look in its early days and creator of the program “Yo! MTV Raps,” died earlier this month.

He died at age 59 of a heart attack on Oct. 12 at his home in the suburbs north of New York City, his brother Paul said on Wednesday.

Dougherty worked in the promotions department at MTV and, with colleague Ted Demme, suggested the rap show at a time the music network didn’t pay much attention to the style, said David Cohn, a friend and former MTV executive. “Yo! MTV Raps” became an instant hit when it started in 1988.

“He really was at the nexus of the early days of punk and the early days of rap,” Cohn said.

Dougherty also directed some videos, including one for The Pogues’ memorable Christmas song “Fairytale of New York,” set in New York City and featuring actor Matt Dillon.

He later moved to London and was influential in creating on-air promotions that gave MTV Europe its look, Cohn said. He was active in the animation world and worked later at The Cartoon Network.