Tag Archives: WQUE

What Do You Do When You’re #@&% Tired Of Being Fired?!?

MichealZiantsAKA-MikeMcCannQ-93Article-1984
1984 Times-Picayune Sunday article about that new Mike McCann dude at Q-93

When folks first visit my Airlift Productions Studios here in New Orleans, one of their first questions is regarding my motivation for building such an awesome recording space in the first place.

My response? “Well, quite frankly”, I tell them, “I have an entrepreneurial drive that was forged in the fires of unemployment!”

Really.

Q-93 Memo to Staff & Times-Picayune article about Mike McCann's exit
Q-93 Memo to Staff & Times-Picayune article about Mike McCann’s exit

I just grew tired and weary of the corporate radio mentality that treated warm, talented and caring humans – with families to look after – as simple commodities!

As all of America today it seems is constantly being outsourced, marginalized, downsized and capsized, even back in the ’80s, I wanted to create my own future.  Enter the Airlift dream.

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Airlift Productions Recording Studio, New Orleans, 2020 Panoramic Studio Pic. Check it out … “Weapons of Mass Production”

I would never have been at Q-93 Radio (WQUE-FM) in 1983 had WIFI-FM in Philadelphia not fired me.  A format change to “Rock of the ’80s” – Psychedelic Furs, Oingo-Bongo, Roxy Music, X, Berlin – in early ’83 led to my dismissal.

Imagine taking this excuse to the PA unemployment line bean-counters, “Well, the consultants considered my on-air approach & style too adult sounding and too mature for the new format!”  Really.

I would never have been at WIFI in Philadelphia had management not fired the entire air staff at WLAC in Nashville.  This legendary 50,000 watt radio station sat on Music Row in Nashville, was owned by Billboard Magazine at the time, and reached Canada and Cuba from the mid-south with it’s remarkable signal.

But it all didn’t matter when Billboard sold the station to new owners – who then changed the format to All-Talk/News and fired it’s entire staff, including yours truly.

MichealZiantsAkaJohnStJohnWLACNashville1980
Airlift Proprietor Micheal Ziants as alter-ego John Saint John, in the production room at WLAC, Nashville, 1980

I would never have been on-air at WLAC had the Pulitzer family in St. Louis at 55-KSD not made a similar move. The radio station was sold to new owners who then changed the format to All-Talk/News and fired it’s entire on-air personality music air staff.

Are you beginning to see a pattern here?  Enter the Airlift dream.

Note that my exits from WKBO in Harrisburg in 1978 and from WQUE here in New Orleans were indeed at my own hand.

I left Harrisburg on my own terms to pursue my first major market air shift in St. Louis.  And I indeed exited Q-93 (as afternoon DJ/Air personality) in 1985 to build my own dream, to fulfill my destiny… to create Airlift Productions.

Airlift Productions was my way of taking all the skills that I’d learned from”the man” and putting them to work for myself! I simply parlayed the many skills hard-earned and fine-tuned through all those radio years into self-employment as a VoiceOver talent and recording studio owner.

MichealZiantsAsMikeMcCannQ-93Ad-1984The final chapter?  Well, it has yet to be written.  As the old advertising adage goes… “watch this space…”

Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from New Orleans since 1984 

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Airlift Mike OnStage with Sid Noel at NOLA’s Orpheum Theater, Halloween 2019

“Dr. Ziants:

My dear colleague, it was a true delight to visit and work with you in your digital laboratory. I somewhat envy your remarkable equipment, which far exceeds anything we can afford here in the old city ice house. Your audio production facilities are second to none, and I thank you again for the excellent recordings you produced for the Momus A. Morgus Institute.” — Momus

** A tested-by-time Testimonial from Dr. Morgus (aka – Sid Noel Rideau) direct from the old city ice house to the Airlift digital lab via email.

 

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One Angel Down … Airlift Productions Still Blue

MichealZiantsAKAMikeMcCannQ-93BlueAngelsFlight1984
Micheal Ziants aka Mike McCann, Q-93, ready to board this Blue Angel SkyHawk jet, Belle Chasse, LA – 1984

It’s all over the news this April 2017 week in New Orleans. The Navy’s Blue Angels return, after a six year hiatus, to Belle Chasse for another air show. Along with all the attendant stories of G-force, incredible speeds, and death-defying stunts.

And watching the news coverage I couldn’t help but flashback to my radio days, (cue the harp music interlude) ~ it was the spring of 1984, Belle Chasse Naval Air Base.  As Q-93 Radio afternoon air personality Mike McCann, I was invited to take part in promoting the upcoming airshow at the base.

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Uh-oh, no turning back now …. Airlift Mike preparing to be Air-borne!

This proved to be one of the more remarkable days of my entire life. Picture yourself, if you can, hurtling through the skies over the Gulf of Mexico at over 500 mph UPSIDE down in the cockpit of an A-4 Skyhawk jet!

My co-pilot? Lieutenant Commander Mike Gershon. Square-jawed, clear-eyed, Bond-like, heroic, courageous, fearless… and dead way before his time.  Little did either of us realize the day we flew together that the very next year at an airshow in Niagara Falls he would make history.

Mike Gershon became one of the few Blue Angels to ever perish in action. The crash was fiery, frightening and unforgettable.  And today, courtesy of the you tube crowd, you can bear witness to the tragedy – as well as meet Mike & his widow, Sherri, here …

 

Lieutenant Commander Gershon – together with his #7 jet pictured – now belong to the ages. But today, I’d just like to say…’ Mike, thanks ever so for this incredible memory, sir. For the laughs, jokes, stories, and this fantastically joyous ride-of-a-lifetime!’

 And for the 21st century reminder that not all heroes die in battle. 

 

MikeGershonAndMichealZiantsBlueAngels 1984
Airlift Productions’ Micheal Ziants with Lt. Cmdr. Mike Gershon ~ Belle Chasse Naval Base, LA – 1984

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“My experience with Airlift Productions was top notch from the start. My company is based in Los Angeles and I had a client that needed to do a last minute VO session in New Orleans. Micheal was incredibly knowledgeable and accommodating, not to mention a blast to work with! Our session turned out beautifully.” 

– Lizz Rantze,  Executive Producer, Rantze + Raves Productions, Los Angeles, CA

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Airlift Productions ~ where the warmth of analogue lives…and the lightning speed of digital delivers!