Tag Archives: WWL Radio

Airlift Productions: A Life Lived In The Hurricane’s Eye

AirliftProductionsInTheHurricanesEyeThe National Weather Service defines the “Eye” as the region of mostly calm weather at the center of strong tropical cyclones.

Metaphorically, the ever-changing media & technology would be the tropical cyclones/hurricanes, and  Airlift Productions & I would be the ones who have for over thirty years resided… calmly, persistent & steady, in the hurricane’s eye.

Airlift Productions New Orleans Logo Re-boot 2012 by Ethan Anderson
The Airlift Productions logo, conceived & trademarked in 1984, and re-imagined for the 21st century

In 1984, the needs of my first full-time client – WGNO-TV/Tribune Broadcasting – gave birth to the Airlift Productions Studios. That very year Ronald Reagan sat in the Oval Office, the compact disc was brand new, and top-rated  CBS affiliates WWL-TV WWL radio here in New Orleans were owned by Loyola University (“World Wide Loyola”) and… the Catholic Church.

From the changing complexion of the White House to digital music distribution (and piracy), TV/radio deregulation and consolidation,  and from Loyola’s WWL ownership to Gannett, Tegna & Entercom … my, how the media and technological winds have blown!

Meanwhile, through all the changes and through all the years, Airlift Productions and I have resided calmly and ever-persistent in the Hurricane’s Eye.

A recent Search Engine request for just two words “Airlift Productions” yielded the most remarkable result – in the Images section was an internet-search-generated montage of a Life lived in the Hurricane’s Eye…

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a Google image search for ‘Airlift Productions’

There was every studio I’d ever built – from the closet at Rock Creek Apartments to Iberville to Pomona.  There was Norman Robinson, Rich Lenz, Heath Allen, the Blue Angels, Morgus, Greg DiLeo, Sister Thecla,  Quvenzhane Wallis, even James Carville’s feet on my ping pong table.

From radio commercials, TV voice-overs, music projects & audio books, to educational software, industrial training & safety videos,  from cathode ray tubes to flat screens and broadcast to podcast – the Airlift Studios & I have shifted and tacked into the winds of change … while remaining calm & steady in the Hurricane’s Eye.

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A recent Google Search for “VoiceOver Production Blogs” – of over 7-Million possibilities, Airlift Productions resides on page One.

 

“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence & Determination alone are omnipotent.” ~ Coolidge/Ziants

 

                    *** Micheal Ziants AUDIO BOOK Demo ***

 

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Airlift Productions proprietor Micheal Ziants putting in another day at the office ~ along with studio mascot ‘The Shadeaux’

And the winds continue to blow! My grandfather John was born before the radio, my father Charlie was born before the television, and I was born before the internet & digital.

What’s next?

Well, whatever it is, you can rest assured that Airlift Productions and I will be there … in the Hurricane’s Eye.

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Airlift’s Micheal Ziants (Right) with actor Joe Renier, On-Camera with TLW Productions for Seacor Marine … deep in the Gulf of Mexico

“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 

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Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from NOLA since 1984

… we’ll leave the light on for you.

DelGiorno, WTN Nashville & Airlift Mike in 2017

The email came into the Airlift Productions Studios to my attention, innocently enough, just last week from a producer at WTN Nashville with a simple question…

WTN Nashville’s Talk Show Host MICHAEL DELGIORNO at the studios, along with a close friend, Donald who?

Would I be able to make myself available for an interview the following morning with Michael DelGiorno?

Well, color me intrigued.

Of course I agreed, and then found myself back on the air in Nashville on October 4th, 2017 being “grilled, chilled and thrilled” (sorry Acme Oyster House) by Michael DelGiorno himself!

As the fates would have it, growing up in New Orleans as the son of famed WWL talk show host Bob DelGiorno, young Michael was an unabashed fan of that Q-93 Radio Mike McCann dude.

Really?

Dude, who knew?

WTN Nashville’s MICHAEL DELGIORNO with his  pop WWL’s BOB DELGIORNO

Together with stories about meeting me briefly back in the 1980s at the WQUE studios and the huge impact my on-air work had on him back in the day, he salt ‘n peppered-in probing questions about the way I dressed back then (my choice of jeans) – and even this choice one,  “Did you ever date (then-WDSU-TV Anchor) Lynn Gansar?”

 

It was all a lot of FUN. And very, very flattering.

We reminisced, caught up and laughed – HARD – about many things –  my early WGNO-Tribune TV announcer days, Scoot’s transition to talk radio (not pretty), and the times I recorded both his dad, for TV-radio spots, and his brother Bobby, for Ray Brandt TV-radio campaigns at the Airlift Productions Iberville location in the ’90s.

And it all came out of Nashville radios like this….

**** 10-4-17 WTN Nashville Interview with Mike McCann ***

Gee, the POWER of radio, huh?

As I traveled town-to-town all those years – Harrisburg to St. Louis, on into Nashville, then Philadelphia, and on to New Orleans, I always thought of myself as a modern day ‘Johnny Appleseed’, sowing little seeds and nuggets of wisdom & whimsy among the records I played.

But little did I know, until just last week, that one would find fertile soil in the heart, soul and mind of little Mikey DelGiorno.

I do now.

Chalk another one up to the powerful – yet intimate – MAGIC of radio.

Oh yeah, and a free dinner and Tennessee Titans game are now but a cell phone call and a road trip car ride away.

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L-R, Heath Allen, Theresa Andersson, Micheal Ziants, Rich Lenz – during a break from the original HEALING HOUSE sessions, Airlift Productions 2004

“For years, I have worked with Micheal Ziants and Airlift Productions recording songs for Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Miracle Network.  Mike’s attention to detail is legendary, but his commitment to the kids and the challenges they face goes far beyond that.  He gets it.   Professionally, he’s as good as it gets.  Everyone SOUNDS better after a session with Mike.  And no matter what the audio project, you FEEL better after a session with Airlift.  That’s “Z” truth! ~ Heath Allen, WDSU-TV Reporter, and veteran guitar picker

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Airlift Productions – Audio Alchemy & Digital Magic from NOLA since 1984… we’ll leave the light on for you!

Airlift Mike: “Seriously Serious ‘Bout Bein’ Serious”

Truth be known, one of the biggest negative raps I encounter while marketing my VoiceOver talents is this: “Oh, but you’re a RADIO dude, and they always sound so ‘announce-ery’!”

Oh, really?

What few realize today is that my skills at the microphone began over a decade before I ever went “on-air” as a disc jockey – ON THE STAGE!

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Airlift’s Micheal Ziants  taking a dive, while playing Tom Edison’s best childhood friend Arvine Stevenson in “Young Tom Edison” , Youngstown, Ohio 1962

From Civic Children’s Theater performances in 1960s Youngstown, Ohio to the starring leads in high school plays, I honed my acting chops while “pounding the boards” on-stage.

I went on to become the President of my high school Thespian Club (even performed as Jack Kennedy, with mimic skills, at PTA meetings), and found the role of ‘Stage Manager’ in Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” as my most challenging performance ever. Perhaps it’s that Life/Death thing.

No doubt, at the heart of any outstanding VoiceOver gig is the art of acting & theater, not radio DJ patter & chatter.

** Airlift Mike gets seriously serious for The New Orleans Mission & “Desperate Reality” radio show, airing Saturday nights on WWL **

But, alas, as the Danish theologian & philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once opined, “Once you label me… you negate me.”

I guess it’s only human nature to label others, but make no mistake – this particular radio dude has acting chops honed through a half-century of study, practice & experience.

** With over 7,300 views on You Tube, it’s Airlift Mike gettin’ serious for the Oil & Gas Production Hub of America – Port Fourchon, LA **

So, what I learned from the stage, I then took to the radio … and what I learned from both of them, I then took to create what is now the longest continuously operating recording studio in New Orleans – Airlift Productions.

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Airlift Productions, New Orleans

What an equation: Seriously serious acting chops + finely-tuned major market radio skills + decades of audio production & mixing experience = Airlift Productions.

** Airlift Mike AudioBook Demo, featuring excerpts from “Murder In Coweta County”, courtesy Pelican Publishing … a true-crime drama, dripping with murder, treachery & mystical powers in 1948 Georgia – oh, my! **

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Airlift Productions Audio Spin Doctor Micheal Ziants off the job

And you’ll find me … from anywhere, anytime, anyhow – as close as the cell in your pocket at 1-800-210-WORD; On-Line at www.AirliftProductions.com; or in your outgoing email box by simply clicking here – mike@airliftproductions.com

 

Airlift Mike: Seriously serious ’bout bein’ serious – from New Orleans since 1984.

 

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“Working with Airlift Mike in NOLA was an utter pleasure. I was in town for business for a month and needed to maintain my audiobook recording schedule. Mike was accommodating and a pure professional. He mastered the punch and roll technique in 24 hours to be ready for our first session, and over the course of the month we laid down 5 books and a number of auditions. His studio sounds great. The vibe & atmosphere can’t be beat. You’d be hard pressed to find a better recording studio in the southeast – no matter what your needs. I wish I could have stayed!” ~ AMY LANDON, Los Angeles-based actress & Audio Book Narrator

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NOLA Mayor Mitch Landrieu Records At Airlift Productions

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New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu brings fire to the Airlift Productions microphones in an effort to resolve School Millage issues

Run-offs, taxes & exemptions, oh my. With senate & congressional seats, as well as a variety of propositions & millages up in the air and scheduled for a vote tomorrow, Dec. 6th – the fur is flying in NOLA!

And last week, Airlift Productions and yours truly gave two of New Orleans most prominent voices a soapbox … and a microphone.

Contracted & hired by the LeBlanc & Schuster team, I vacuumed-up the red carpet and warmed-up the mics to record & produce radio ads with both Mayor Mitch Landrieu and NOLA City Council Chief Stacy Head.

Long-time political lightning rods for change – and controversy – I found both the Mayor & Ms. Head in-person to be engaging, warm and sincere folks. Even fun. (Stacy even brought daughter Charlotte to the recording session.)

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NOLA City Council Head Stacy Head Records ahead of the Dec. 6th vote at Airlift Productions

Give a LISTEN to the radio spots now airing on WWL & WNOE radio (and yes, yours truly was tagged to perform the tag at the tail)  being heard today all over New Orleans airwaves …

** Mayor Landrieu addresses NOLA School Millage issues **

** NOLA Council President Stacy Head adds her ‘two cents’ **

Post-Katrina New Orleans is without question still rife with it’s own share of thorny, prickly issues. Our job on this day was to tackle the upcoming vote on school maintenance and it’s attendant school millage proposals.

As a long-time political atheist, I personally do not have a dog in any donkey-elephant hunt and remain more neutral than the Swiss …  and yet watch the fur fly from the sidelines with rapt attention and curiosity.

But as the fur and the dust settle the day after tomorrow and the votes are tallied and issues decided – and whether you vote or not – remember the time honored definition of the word ‘experience’: Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

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Hizzoner & Council Prez Stacy Head on the job, working it out for NOLA

 

  Airlift Productions Recording Studio ~ Audio Alchemy from NOLA since 1984

Airlift Mike Spices-UP WWL ~ Cajun Style!

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Airlift Productions’ Micheal Ziants Writes, Voices & Produces “Once Upon A Time” Radio Spot for Frere Jean Cajun Seasonings ~ for air on WWL Radio

 

You know,  it occurs to me that the last few blogs have been all about the rear view mirror …. radio memories of Walton, Johnson, Chapin & Rundgren from the ’70s & ’80s – so let’s tap the brakes a second and re-enter the 21st century ~ 2014!

Tonight “Once Upon A Time” debuts on WWL Radio, with it’s unique-to-New-Orleans totally awesome, 50,000 watt, clear channel AM night-time signal.  I mean, Hello … it covers and reaches 37 states in America!

I was entrusted by Brother John Foods to create ~ conceive, write, voice & produce ~ a sixty second radio spot to promote their one-of-a-kind SALT-FREE Cajun seasonings product.

The spot came out to be so much fun!

Pause to consider, the four most magical words in the English language are “Once upon a time …” for they set the stage for fable, myth, legend and fantastic stories.

And to think, there’s not a Boudreaux, cher, or ‘Ay-EEEE’ shout anywhere in the copy.  LISTEN here —

*** Frere Jean ‘Once Upon A Time’ radio :60 for WWL Radio  ***

The tinkling of the music box, the Chinese bell tree and the evocative music track sure help to set the stage for magic, huh?  And I had a riot writing and developing the story-teller copy points, right down to the idea of rescuing damsels, er ah,  princesses in distress – and their waistlines!

In fact, there’s so much packed into this sixty seconds of airtime that you hear and catch something different in it every time you listen.  In my estimation that is what great radio should be all about.

Using the medium for what it does best … to light-up the imagination – and then take that imagination  to front stage center in the Theater of the Mind!

{ Oh, and could you please clean this place up a bit?!  Apparently some clown spilled popcorn & soda and my feet are sticking to the floor…  LOL, LMFAO, BFF  🙂  ~ the management}

 

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Micheal Ziants – New Orleans Voice Over Talent & Airlift Productions Studio Owner ~ 2012 promo pic

 

Airlift Productions Recording Studio ~ Telling America’s Great Stories from New Orleans …. since 1984!