What a totally fascinating time Halloween is in New Orleans.
As I walk the Shadow (Airlift’s trusty mascot) through the Bonnabel subdivision here outside NOLA, we both find ourselves scratching our respective heads in wonderment.
I mean, this is the only time of year, and probably the only place in America where, on a morning dog walk in the crisp (?) fall air, you’ll ever find statues of the blessed Virgin Mary …. peacefully coexisting alongside Freddy Kruger, Mike Meyers (from the ‘Halloween’ movie), skeletons and vampires!
As faith-filled Catholic brethren all across NOLA put on a show for the kids, while Mary, Yeshua, and Papa Joe share in the laughs & fun from ‘the other side’.
Tasked by serial entrepreneur Dean St. Pierre to re-image and brand his Metairie nightclub yet again, it was my duty this past weekend to create a couple radio :30s for – wait for it – the NEW place to see & be seen (and occasionally obscene) ENCORE!
Flying-up the flagpole (broadcast tower) this week in NOLA on B-97, Bayou 95.7 and Magic 101.9 is this goodie for Saturday night’s epic Halloween bash at the club….
“When I need BIG ‘I-know-that-guy’s-voice!’ sound for any production I am working on, the first call I make is to Airlift Mike. Micheal’s penetrating vocals and second-to-none production quality give my movie & audio feature projects the instant respectability they need. If you want to sound like a pro, meaning no one gives a second thought to your audio because it is so well executed, you want to call Airlift!”
— MIKE CHURCH, World-Famous Sirius/XM Talk Show Host, Founding Father Film Maker, Writer & Producer of ‘The Spirit of ’76’ and ‘The Road to Independence’
It’s kind of hard for me to get my mind around sometimes, but I recorded my very first radio commercial in late 1971 just outside Columbus, Ohio in a little town called Delaware. At WDLR radio. For, of all things – a funeral home.
Today, in 2015, just a few years later, and literally thousands of commercials later, I find myself still perfecting the craft. And at the same time marveling over the fact that while many things in the industry have changed, at the heart of the art will always be the need for attention, engagement, entertainment and imagination!
From reel-to-reel tape to mp3s, from broadcasts to podcasts, from mixing consoles to digital audio workstations – the tool kits have changed but the heart of the art remains the same.
And one of the things that I’ve relished about my now-thirty years of running Airlift Productions here in New Orleans is that many of my clients have entrusted me through the years to not only serve as the voice and producer of the commercials – but to WRITE them as well.
So, let’s play and have some fun, while at the same time, lace-up the Adidas for a jog down memory lane.
This week I got my imagination racin’ and had quite the time writing copy, assembling bites, voicing and recording yet another radio thirty to help pack the night club known as Legends Encore here in the bosom of suburbia outsideNew Orleans.
Opening with all the intensity of a movie trailer, “Wine, Women & Song-2015 style” opens with battle axes on shields, horse whinnies, and sword play … and closes with Billy Crystal from “The Princess Bride” shouting “Have fun storming the castle!” The last thought? The night club’s name.
Attention + Engagement + Entertainment + Imagination = Memorable Radio.
See, while everyone else is trying to cram way too much information, and laundry lists of prices, items, phone numbers, addresses, yada, yada, yada …. Airlift Productions captures attention, has some fun, entertains, and delivers.
For client after client. Year after year.
Now, as to the ‘jog down memory lane’ part of the blog, just a couple quickie faves from the ’90s that I still get comments about….
I loved working with Archie Manning. Yes, Peyton & Eli’s pop was a client of mine for a couple years as he and his partner Steve Smith, a body builder from Mississippi, were co-owners of Archie Manning’s Gold’s Gym on Veterans Boulevard, and I wrote, voiced and produced all their radio ads for them.
I’ll never forget Archie rolling his eyes when I came up with this one: I’d be Santa Claus and he’d be the perennial kid sitting on my knee during December in the mall telling me what he wanted for Christmas! Really.
*** Airlift Mike with Archie Manning, “Gold’s Gym”, 1992 ***
Gee, and the Saints wouldn’t even smell a Super Bowl until a couple decades + later.
Although his boys sure have seen their fair share, huh?
Yes, radio spots, in order to be effective, must prove WORTHY of the imagination of the listener. And show RESPECT for the time that they’re investing to listen.
OK, just one more.
One of my favorite people on planet Earth is this wacky Cajun from Lafayette, LA named Luno Bordelon. In fact, just this past Tuesday night, while in NOLA on business, he spent the night with us here in Metairie.
Well, Luno and I were tasked with building the crowds at a local Mexican restaurant named “Jalapenos”, and I came up with the idea that this was “the Mexican restaurant that even a Cajun could love”.
So, I played intrepid man-on-the-scene reporter and Luno was, well, Luno! Check out the Lu-nacy here….
*** Airlift Mike & Luno Bordelon for “Jalapenos” ***
Wow! And after all these years, 1971-2015, this is still FUN!
As a guy who fell in love with theater and the human voice as a kid, then a mad love affair with the radio and tape recorders – it’s still today almost as if people are paying me to play with my train set.
Yes, when it comes to advertising, audio – and well-constructed radio ads – will always drive the emotional train. Allow me to be your engineer. All aboard! 🙂
“I have worked with Michael on a free lance basis for years. I continue to be amazed at his technical genius and amazing voice. His ability to make the average sound spectacular never ceases to amaze me! I have worked with Mike on a variety of projects, and he gets it done right the first time, every time! It is ‘one stop shopping’ for first rate results!”
*** Millie Stouse Fuselier, New Orleans Queen of VoiceOver ***