Tag Archives: Bo Walker

WLAC, Nashville, 1980 – and John Saint John

NashvilleStreetScene1980In early 1980, Nashville was a very different place. Today’s Country SuperStars were on the playgrounds, if they were even born yet… Conway Twitty was very much alive, George Jones was still rattin’ the Printers Alley bars… and yours truly  was ridin’ herd on the afternoon radio rodeo – as John Saint John!

Think about it: Forty years ago, Jimmy Carter sat in the Oval Office,  John Travolta’s ‘Urban Cowboy’ was huge at the box office, and my “office” was the afternoon drive “air chair” at WLAC, Nashville.

The internet, world wide web, digital audio and mp3 downloads weren’t even dreams yet in a tech head’s head.  Radio – and AM at that – was king!

15WLAC-Logo

~ 15-WLAC Logo, during it’s final hurrah as a music station, before yielding to changing times and becoming All News & Talk in late 1980 ~

Picked up ‘on waivers’ from KSD radio in Saint Louis, I was freshly hired by Billboard Magazine to do the afternoon drive shift  from their swanky showroom studios at 14 Music Circle East every afternoon on the legendary 50,000 watt blowtorch –  WLAC Radio.

Together with RJ Harris, Spider Harrison, Dennis John Cahill, Smokey Rivers, ‘Captain Sunshine’, Randy Davis and Jeff Warren,  we held court as the last bastions of music on WLAC. 

What an exciting and truly awesome gig this was.  To work for Billboard Magazine in Music City, USA and broadcast every afternoon to the entire mid-south. No tape delay, no second takes…it was all LIVE – from my mouth into tens of thousands of ears in a split second!

MichealZiantsAKA-JohnSaintJohnWLAC-Nashville1980
~ Airlift Productions’ Micheal Ziants as alter-ego John Saint John, in the WLAC, Nashville Studios in 1980 ~

As most know, but few give thought to, Nashville is not only Music City USA, it is also the capital city of the great state of Tennessee, so much of the talk was centered around politics. In early 1980, that talk revolved around Carter, Reagan & Bush.

And do you remember the music of the 1980s? No, we weren’t playing country. It was more like Donna Summer, Boz Scaggs, Doobie Brothers, Michael Jackson, Eagles, Christopher Cross, Kim Carnes and the Electric Light Orchestra!

That John Saint John guy served them up like this —-

~ WLAC Radio & John Saint John, Wednesday July 30th, 1980 – broadcasting from Nashville’s Music Row ~

Without question, the most fun I’ve ever had with my clothes on!

And the doors that were opened to me as afternoon air personality for WLAC ;  to talk with – and get to know – the Legends of Nashville music:  Brenda Lee, Charlie Daniels, George Jones, Dottie West, I even co-emceed an auto show benefit for Nashville’s Humane Society with Conway Twitty!

During my brief tour of duty at WLAC, I interviewed and sat down with Eddie Money, Ted Nugent, Terry Bradshaw,  Eagles’ lead guitar Don Felder, the comic Gallagher … and Lawrence Welk ran his music publishing company in the offices upstairs – in fact, when he was in town, he’d occasionally knock on the studio window, make faces, and wave at me!

But you can never separate the words Radio & Business.  And in the early 1980s, the handwriting was on the wall – FM penetration, together with it’s stereo & higher fidelity proved the death knell for music-formatted AM radio.  And with it went my job.

In the Fall of 1980, in fact it was Halloween weekend that year,  thirteen months after I was hired, WLAC fired it’s entire air staff- “Trick or Treat”!! In favor of new owners… and a new all News/Talk format which forty years later it still is today.

WLAC-RhythmOfNashvilleSingl

As I look back now, across all these forty years, I have to admit that it was in the subsequent days of unemployment in Nashville that the seeds of one day being my own boss, having my own business – a recording studio – were first planted.

But there were still fields yet to plow, and Airlift Productions and New Orleans were not even on my radar yet. But we’ll save Philadelphia, WIFI-FM and that wacky city of Brotherly Love for another day. 

That’s a story for another blog and another time.

In the meantime, the creative juices still bubble over daily at the Airlift Productions Studios on Pomona in New Orleans. Stop by for a cold one when you can. We’ll leave the mics hot for you!

**********************************************************

BoWalkerAirliftProductionsNOLA“I met Mike in the mid 80’s when I was first starting out in the business … a consummate professional and just a really nice guy. He has seen me through the highs and lows of this business during my 33 year career. I walked away in 2014. He has produced countless air checks for me when I was fired and looking for a new gig. I have recorded in all 3 of his studios from a closet at Rock Creek in Metairie, Mid City, and just recently when I recorded a few pages of an audio book as a demo for a friend/author who just released a new book. Mike is a true friend.” ~ BO WALKER, New Orleans radio legend & Former Production Director, I-Heart Media, NOLA

**************************************************************

Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from New Orleans since 1984

Mike Church & Mike Ziants Take It Down To The Church … Via Veritas

MikeChurchVeritasNetworkAndAirliftProductionsNOLA
Mike Church putting in another day at the office on the Veritas Radio Network

Mike Church, the longest-running conservative talk show host in the history of Sirius satellite radio is now on to the most exciting and provocative phase of his career.

And yours truly, Airlift Mike, is most fortunate and blessed to be his running partner in Crusade & Veritas.

You see, Mike & I both believe that what is ailing the “body politic”, as well as American society today, is a collective “turning of the back” on Christ the King and the Law of His Gospel!

I know, I know, I hear you … “But in polite social circles, in order to gain and keep friends”, you say (or create successful radio), “One should never discuss Politics, Sex, or Religion”. To those who still today adhere to this quaint 20th century saying, I say …

MikeChurchFacebookFunMeme“Politics” ~ Rush Limbaugh; “Sex” ~ Howard Stern; and now, Crusading with Faith into the most volatile and incendiary of the three, America will now add the name of Mike Church!

“VERITAS” in Latin means “Truth”. But this is truth with 21st century swag, relevant relate-ability, pop culture (?) and style.

VeritasNetworkLogoMikeChurch.comAirliftProductionsNOLAAs a devout and devoted Roman Catholic boy of Faith, Mr. Church has launched THE CRUSADE CHANNEL and THE VERITAS NETWORK … available FREE 24-7-365 on everyone’s digital devices. Stream it anywhere and anytime to your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad or laptop here — www.MikeChurch.com.

And Mike, known affectionately as “King Dude” to those who know and love him – and there are tens of thousands – has now tagged yours truly to act as Imaging Voice for this exciting new adventure. So, I shoulder the awesome, and fun, responsibility of setting the tone for this mission. Sample a montage of our initial efforts here …

I first met Mike earlier this century through our mutual radio comrades-in-arms Bo Walker & Don Banks, and have pitched-in through the years to help narrate and give cohesive voice to his patriotic & conservative films & DVDs.

CrusadeChannelLogoMikeChurch.com

But this Crusade – this championing of the Human Spirit, Faith & Truth – will prove to be really …. something …. else altogether!

Pray for us.

**************************************************************

MichealZiantsAirliftProductionsOnCamera4Seacor
Airlift Mike On-Camera for Tim Weston, TLW Productions & Seacor Marine Worldwide

 

“We’ve worked with Mike for almost 15 years, both as voice over and on-camera talent in more than 50 films.  Not only is he a great guy and a super talent,  but he has the coolest recording studio in the South.”~TIM WESTON, President TLW Productions, NOLA 

 

 

 

*******************************************************************

Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from New Orleans since 1984

Classic N.O. Eatery Gets a FaceLift … Airlift Style!

 

TujaguesRadioCampaignFromAirliftProductions
Airlift Productions & Micheal Ziants Add the Voice & Sizzle to Tujague’s Radio spot

 

I was reminded of this gig just last night when I caught the spot on WRNO-99.5-Rush Radio in New Orleans.  Man, how times … and dimes have changed.

When it came time for legendary French Quarter restaurant Tujagues on Decatur to roll-out it’s new Brunch menu and shout it from the rooftops via WRNO, the bat signal went out into the night sky for Airlift Mike.

What followed is kind of like the ‘alley-oop’ play in basketball – Bo Walker (then-production chief at Clear Channel) emailed me the copy … I voiced it and sent it back to him, along with some sound effect cues … he added his music track and mixed it down, then ping-ponged this mp3 back to me … and voila!

Part history lesson, part menu … and all sizzle! And when it all comes out of your car speaker on WRNO or worldwide via their I-Heart radio app, ‘Tujagues Brunch Menu’ radio :60 sounds like this….

 

Yeah, pretty amazing times we’re living in, huh?

Please though, do not attempt this kind of radio production at home.  These men are trained professionals.

Note: No animals were harmed in the making of this commercial.

AirliftProductionsTujaguesRadioSpotWRNO
Tujagues Brunch Menu Radio :60 Voiced by Micheal Ziants & Airlift Productions