I first met Norman Robinson in 1991 at the Airlift Productions studios on Iberville Street. He was fresh off the White House beat for the CBS Network and was the newly ordained nightly news anchor at WDSU-TV here in New Orleans.
Along with John Lee, the founder of the I Can Learn educational programs, he showed up at the studios to record some promotional VoiceOver tracks to help attract some attention to this new and innovative method of teaching.
I was thinking about our first meeting and that first session together as Norman arrived at the Airlift studios this past Friday, February 6th, 2015 to record with me… yet again.
Let’s see, so simple math would indicate that our relationship and friendship now spans nearly a quarter of a century!
In addition to his outstanding contributions every night for over two decades in the anchor chair at WDSU, Norman is quite the musician as well. While foreign to many, the euphonium (sort of a hybrid cross between a french horn and a tuba) is Norm’s instrument of choice.
He played it in the marine band while in the service, and still does today in various orchestras and ensembles around the Crescent City – and for the Children’s Hospital NOLA at Airlift Productions.
But it’s more than his chops at the euphonium or at the anchor desk that make Norman so special. It’s his spirit! Charm. Charisma. Magnetism. Gravitas. Norman didn’t just sit in the anchor chair. He inhabited it. He owned it.
In a day and time where even NBC Network News & Brian Williams’ authority and credibility have now come into question, the city of New Orleans always had its fingers on the pulse of what was going on … and believed in and trusted Norman Robinson.
It was that trust, that gravitas, that authoritative weight that brought Norman back into the Airlift Productions Studios this past week to record VoiceOver for a very special project. Just give a listen to a taste of what went down Friday here ….
*** Norman Robinson at the Airlift Productions microphones Friday, February 6th, 2015, talking unabashedly of the city he loves ***
If all Norman did was string words together in that marvelous booming baritone, to many, that would be more than enough, but it doesn’t stop there. His nightly news laughter and asides, and his boundless humanity and love of life on the yearly Children’s Telethons is what endeared him to so many.
Witness this clip provided by his successor Scott Walker, from a cell phone video at our last telethon in June of 2014, as Norman invokes the spirit of James Brown ….
*** Norman performs to make the telephones ring and the pledges come in at the 2014 Children’s Miracle Network Telethon ***
As Norman and I wrapped-up our session this past week, we reflected on our many years working together. And I guess the most interesting part of our conversation was about what lies ahead for us … because we’re just getting warmed-up.
Because, you see, on that great Highway of Life, the most fascinating years, the really interesting ones … are through the windshield – not the rear view mirror!
For more, as they used to say in the ad world, “Watch this Space”.
Airlift Productions Recording Studio ~ Audio Alchemy from NOLA