All posts by Micheal

I am a Recording Artist and Studio Owner in New Orleans, Louisiana for over thirty years now. After a whirlwind radio career that took me through St. Louis, Nashville, Harrisburg & Philadelphia, I settled in New Orleans in 1983. VoiceOver work for TV & film, completely-produced radio ads, and audio book recording & production are specialties of the house, but my Airlift Productions Studio also plays in the music arena with artist CD projects and has become a go-to shop for Hollywood South. Look us up on the web at www.AirliftProductions.com, or connect with us at #1-800-210-WORD.

Airlift Productions Answers Chicken Versus Egg Conundrum

AirliftProductionsNewOrleansAnswersChickenVsEggConundrum

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Around the Airlift Productions Studios,  I still get into this one with my video production pals – when it comes down to audio versus video, which of the two is more powerful and packs the bigger punch?!?

I mean, what is all televison except radio… with pictures?  Which came first? And where are the more powerful emotional cues?  

You know, the ones that capture attention, motivate, inspire, scare … and drive someone to action?

Pause to consider, the very first sense that develops as the human develops within the mother’s womb is …. wait for it –  the sense of HEARING!  The growing infant HEARS the mother’s heartbeat and the rush of amniotic fluid, almost like ocean waves,  surrounding it’s ears.

The eyes are nowhere in the picture yet.

paragon-city-center-12Now, picture yourself in a movie theater. You are terrified by the motion picture – from b/w ‘Psycho’ in the ’60s to the latest flick about some camp counselor gone crazy chasing teens through the woods with an ax – and you can very simply close your eyes.

But you cannot close your ears!

The shrieks of terror, the ragged breathing, the sound effects, the dramatic music pulsing and pounding.  Even when all sounds disappear and come to a complete … heart-pounding … stop!

Interestingly, the Creator gave us eyelids… but He didn’t give us EAR-lids!

Now, talk to a hospice caregiver, and they’ll quickly tell you from experience that in the majority of cases the final sense to leave us at death – is the sense of hearing.

More to the point, in the case of television advertising, when an ad comes on, many are off to the bathroom or into the kitchen.  In this case, all the expensive video editing software and fancy visual zips and zaps are superfluous! They are not even there in the experience of the intended viewer.

The AUDIO portion of the ad, however, is still there – OUT LOUD for all to witness!

And since time immemorial, the story-telling tradition, as one generation passed legend and myth and bedtime stories down to the next, the entire presentation was aural – powerful, memorable and impact-full.

Sorry, video aces, but audio trumps video. It will always be AUDIO that drives the emotional train.

Airlift Productions, driving that emotional train from NEW Orleans …. since 1984.

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harlon miller“Airlift is THE place to go for a top quality demo. With Mike behind the board you are in very capable hands. His vast knowledge and command of all things audio blends with his laid-back fun environment to bring out the best in any voice.  Airlift Productions has the experience and all the tools necessary to make a voice-over reel that is on par with anything you would find in New York or LA!”

– – – HARLON MILLER, Voice-Over Actor

** Harlon’s Airlift-Mike-produced VoiceOver Demo **

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Airlift Productions – we’ll leave the mics hot… and the light on for you.

Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy & Digital Magic from New Orleans… since 1984  

Mother’s Day & The Hand That Rocks The Cradle

Many thoughts are rambling around my head on this Mother’s Day weekend, so I came here to unpack  a few of them.  Allow me to wish you & yours a Happy One as I attempt to sort some things out.

aaa-motherearth2It’s been said that, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”. Indeed, mothers, and the way in which they raise their children, most definitely mold and form society and the world in which we live.

Rightly or wrongly (and yes, there are bad mothers), through motherhood, women leave their indelible mark on the planet.  Some seek to leave their footprints in the sands of time…while others leave but skid marks at the intersection.

Did you know that America’s first people, the Tribes – from the Sioux to the Cherokee – had quite a different view when talk of the planet and mothers was involved?

e5871399b6d1a59cbec107dc5635ba43To them, four simple words summed-up all of existence – “Mother Earth, Father Sky”.

ALL food, all sustenance – indeed all life – grew from the Earth! Berries, fruit, maize, corn, wheat ALL came from the dirt beneath their feet.  Mother Earth.

And all this nourishment, the very essence of life, would not be possible without the rains and the sun to make it grow.  Father Sky.

Pretty simple, huh?  And pretty true, too.

Well, if you’ve run with me this far on this Mother’s Day, let’s run just a bit further.   I’m haunted as of late by a line from Paul Simon’s tune “Questions For the Angels”, wherein he poses this question…

“If every human on the planet and all the buildings on it should disappear…  would a zebra grazing on the African savanna care enough to shed one zebra tear?”

Wow! Ponder that one a moment.  Let that one sink-in a bit.

fb112df7fe4157dff7836f18d9dd8297And I realize that it’s more than a tad on the dark side (for Mother’s Day weekend), but couple that thought with this troubling nightmare that persists… in my New Orleans nights.

The whole planet Earth – all now-Eight-billion-and-counting – all humanity…the very planet we call home – gone! Disappeared.  And the epitaph on the tombstone says rather succinctly, “Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.” ~ signed, the Father.

No. Despite all human ‘advancements’ and technology and progress and religion and culture…in the eyes of the Creator Spirit that is ALL { the One the Tribes called ‘Wakan Tanka’} — we just didn’t cut it.

1401389338528328800And the kicker?  In the Big Picture?  In the eyes of the vast universe… the disappearance of this one little planet in the backwaters of the Milky Way, here in what we call the 21st Century…didn’t even make the front page in the Sunday Universal Times.

Yet, from the palaces of Kim Jong Un to Vlad Putin, the games persist. And from the streets of Anytown USA to today’s nearby college campuses… peace, love & respect for human dignity increasingly get lost in our crazed, frantic and hyper-connected digital world.

And the beat goes on.  Until it doesn’t.

I only wish that I had a rosier picture to paint this morning, but we’ll save that ‘rose’ for the Mother’s Day bouquet sitting on kitchen tables all over the world at this moment.

                                    *** Airlift Mike’s “This Is For the Mothers” ***

KatyAndSophieTuckerAndPumpkins

MichealZiantsNewOrleansVoiceOverTalentArtistRenderingAnd along with it, a Hope and a Prayer…for your Mother Earth and mine.

IncreaseThePeace…with Love & Respect from the New Jer-USA-lem ~ Micheal Z

To communicate is the Beginning of Understanding.

Airlift Productions Communicates.

Toussaint, Ziants & NOLA Memories~Reflections

A young Allen Toussaint, back in the day, recording with Cosimo Matassa at J & M Studios, NOLA
A young Allen Toussaint, back in the day, recording with Cosimo Matassa at J & M Studios, NOLA

Allen Toussaint & I first met in 1992 backstage at the New Orleans Big Easy Entertainment Awards Show in the bowels of the now long-vacant Municipal Auditorium at the foot of Orleans Avenue.

Allen was there to accept yet another award and, as the show’s live announcer (a job I enjoyed for ten straight years) it was my duty that night to introduce him to the packed house.

Allen at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, getting to know President Obama
Allen at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, getting to know President Obama

Warm, engaging, self-deprecating, soft-spoken, and  impeccably dressed, Allen Toussaint truly defined the word – Gentle-man, with qualities that truly belied his most amazing and breathtaking list of rather heady and remarkable musical accomplishments.

That night we laughed and got to know each other. In fact, after recognizing my voice from years on local television, he asked me, “Mike, would you do a few of those ‘Tonight on Fox Night at the Movies’ promos for my lady?” Laughingly, I agreed.  And did.

November 10th in 2015 at the age of 77, across the ocean in Madrid, while performing and doing what he loved, Allen suffered a heart attack and proceeded to drop his body… and move on.

As he left us with  musical memory after memory after memory. Is it even possible to pick a favorite? From “Mother in Law” to “Southern Nights”, “Working in a Coal Mine” to “Lady Marmalade”, and these are but some of the radio ‘hits’. They just go on and on and on….

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Epic & Legendary New Orleans Recording Engineer & Producer Cosimo Matassa Service Prayer Cards ~ September 16th, 2014

I last talked with Allen Toussaint in September 2014, at Lake Lawn Funeral Home, as the NOLA music world all showed up to pay homage to our just-departed friend, mentor, and seminal recording visionary Cosimo Matassa.

You see, the Coz was the one behind the huge mixing console down in NOLA’s French Quarter in the ’50s & ’60s who made all that musical magic happen with Allen and so many others back in the day.

That day – and this is so Allen – the entire crowd, and it was sizable, was all dressed in funereal black. Except for Mr. Toussaint. Ask anyone who was there. Allen wore the most amazing shade of iridescent blue!

Now, we’re the ones who are… blue, that is.  As Allen Toussaint belongs to the ages. And pages of musical history.

Oh, and no minor footnote here, he also posthumously loaned his name to a major New Orleans thoroughfare formerly known as Robert E. Lee Boulevard.

Brother Allen, rest in power and musical paradise, thanks for all you brought us and taught us through all those years.  

And for all that MUSIC!

Our ‘Southern Nights’ will never be the same.

** Allen Toussaint waves “Bye, Bye”, as only he could, via YouTube **

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Nathan, while recording at Airlift Productions, October 2019

“Mike is a master of his craft, a true audio artisan. The long days I spent recording my audiobook with him were a joy. First and foremost, he is a meticulous professional who wants to make sure that the production achieves the best possible quality. Because of his extensive background as a voice actor, he can coach you in exactly how to make something sound serious, credible, and powerful. And because he built the whole studio himself, he knows how to get the most out of his equipment and produce exceptional recordings.

But more than that, Mike is not just a skilled producer. He’s a great guy, with a tranquil life philosophy that will put you at ease and make you feel comfortable enough to give your best effort. He knows how to make you feel good, from the mood lighting to his calming presence in your headphones. He’s funny, too, and has lots of great stories from his long career in radio. I truly had a blast working with Mike and will write another book just to do a new audiobook with him.” 

— NATHAN J. ROBINSON, Editor in chief of Current Affairs magazine and author of ‘Why You Should Be A Socialist’

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Airlift Productions New Orleans Logo Re-boot 2012 by Ethan AndersonAirlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from NOLA since 1984

You May Say I’m A Dreamer …

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John Lennon at the piano creating a vision with “Imagine”

Imagine there’s no heaven

It’s easy if you try

No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

~ John Lennon, “Imagine”

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As my fave old metaphysical space cowboy running partner Henry David (Thoreau) used to say, “Do not worry if you have built your castles in the air.  They are where they should be.  Now… put the foundations under them”.   And …

“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us … are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.”

MichealZiantsAirliftProductionsAtAge20WNIO.YoungstownOhio
Airlift Productions’ Micheal Ziants – at age 20 –  on the first real radio job, Youngstown-Niles, Ohio, 1972, when many thought I LOOKED like John.

Airlift Mike – channeling and realizing the dreams of John Lennon. 

And Henry David Thoreau… 

Since 1972.

So, what do you do with YOUR spare time?

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Norman Robinson & Airlift Mike, tracking VoiceOver session, October 2019 at Airlift Productions New Orleans

“Michael is without a doubt one of the most versatile audio and production experts in the industry. ” — NORMAN ROBINSON, Harvard Nieman fellow; Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters-Our Lady of Holy Cross College; former CBS-TV White House correspondent;  senior news anchor WDSU-TV, NOLA

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Airlift Productions – we’ll leave the mics hot… and the light on for you.

Airlift PROductions ~ Audio Alchemy & Digital Magic from New Orleans since 1984

Airlift Mike ~ Footprints In The Sands Of Time?

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Harrisburg Broadcasting: Images of America Book, written by Timothy P. Portzline … with Airlift Productions, John St. John, Micheal Ziants pics & stories

Footprints in the Sands of Time …. or skid marks at the intersection?

I guess it’s human nature for all of us to seek love and respect in life. Respect from family, friends and co-workers.  And to be thought lovingly of and to be fondly remembered by those we’ve left behind is to never die. You know, “footprints”.

Well, as a life-long student of history, world religions and philosophy, I’ve read many a book on history, but I can honestly say that I’ve never been IN one … until now.

I don’t know what you – the reader of this blog – were doing in the 1970s, or even if you were alive in the ’70s, but in that decade I left enough creative blood and sweat in Harrisburg, PA radio station control rooms to fill a swimming pool!

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Airlift Productions Proprietor Micheal Ziants as John Saint John, in the WKBO, Harrisburg, PA studios, circa 1976

Meanwhile, here in the 21st century, Harrisburg native, broadcast vet, engineer & scholar Timothy P. Portzline has written ‘Harrisburg Broadcasting: Images of America’, wherein he devotes an embarrassing amount of ink to yours truly.

Available today through all the usual outlets and on Amazon here — ‘Harrisburg Broadcasting’ tells the remarkable story – along with images – of radio’s & television’s roots in the state capital of Pennsylvania.  Including that irascible John Saint John guy.

AirliftProductionsMichealZiantsFeaturedInHarrisburgBroadcastingBookByTimothyPortzline
Airlift Productions Proprietor Micheal Ziants AKA John Saint John, featured in ‘Harrisburg Broadcasting’ History Book

Yes, it was my job every afternoon for over five years to entertain state workers (white & blue collar) in the ‘commuter combat zones’… topical, relevant, fun & cutesy, but never ‘rude, crude, or lascivious’.  And it was all LIVE and direct into car speakers years before the internet, web, mp3 players and digital downloads.

Listen to a WKBO Radio AirCheck of John Saint John from 1977, along with Listener Introduction here ….

This recording, along with a few others, helped to catapult me from Harrisburg to afternoon drive with the Pulitzer Family at NBC affiliate KSD Radio in Saint Louis the very next year.

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Pre-MP3/Downloads – in the days of 45 rpm records – a WKBO Radio weekly music survey, charting record sales … with John Saint John

‘Fun’ is too weak a word.  ‘Exciting’ barely captures the passion and drive.   Personality Radio to a then-20-something was EVERYTHING! It’s a good thing J. Albert Dame (WKBO owner) didn’t know it, but I would have paid HIM for the opportunity.

And to think, to this wild-eyed wanderer, the city of New Orleans, recording studio entrepreneurship and Airlift Productions weren’t even dreams yet or even on my radar.

The Cherokee have a sentiment and saying which states that each of us (as “human beings”) live as long as the last person who remembers us. 

So we’ll leave it all to the history books and workplace water cooler talk to make sense of my years in Pennsylvania’s capital city. Footprints…or skid marks.  Either way, I wouldn’t change a thing or trade a day. 

In the meantime, all those lessons learned are still with me, the mics are hot and the creative juices are still flowing way down yonder in New Orleans …  every day … at AirliftProductions.com 

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discovery_channel_logo“Micheal Ziants and Airlift Productions offer an excellent and affordable option for VoiceOver & Recording.” — Michael Morris, Head of Post-Production, Discovery Studios, Hollywood, California

Is Audio Recording An Art … Or A Science? Or Magic?

The short answer? All three! The long answer? How much time do you have? Too many questions? Oops, another question…

SoundWavesAirliftProduction

To begin with, all sound travels in waves.  That’s analog.  As I speak, my voice travels from my larynx to your ear as a wave form. Now, in capturing said wave form in a recording device or computer for editing and storage, it is still considered and called a wave form, but then it’s digital.  Science.

But making MAGIC with that wave form is quite another thing altogether.  Art.

AirliftProductionsNOLATalentBooth
Airlift Productions “Booth” ~ where talent shines!

Now, creating an environment, a creative space, a ‘vibe’, a place to make that audio magic – that audio alchemy – possible is yet another story completely.

Art & Science & Magic get it on at Airlift Productions!

AirliftProductions_Pomona-OriginalDesignPlan_Ziants_3-5-2001
Original Airlift Productions Studio Design ~ Micheal Ziants, 2001

Pause to consider, the entire Airlift Productions air space is completely out-of-square with no parallel walls, and the studio ceiling rises from front to back.

Custom-designed, the entire room is built like the ancient Greeks imagined the amphitheater – sound waves naturally propagate from the near-field reference monitors in the front across the room to the back wall.

The Airlift Studios control room widens from 6 feet square at the front … to nearly 12 feet at the back. Dramatic, sure, but functional, as well.  A critical listening space should never be constructed with parallel walls, ceiling & floor, as this creates standing waves, slap-back echoes and assorted audio headaches.

AirliftProductionsGiftOfLifeStainedGlassWindow
Airlift Productions “Gift of Life” Stained Glass Window

Room treatment, acoustic foam, carpeting on the walls, natural daylight filtered through stained glass, and dimmer-controlled mood lighting further enhance artist & engineer comfort & creativity through the entire recording process.

Yes, Art & Science get it on at Airlift Productions!  To create MAGIC.

Purpose-designed for comfort, creativity & breath-taking sound, Airlift has delivered the goods since 1984 from New Orleans to the planet with style!

From big screen to small;  basic TV/Film voice over tracks & intimate audio book sessions to fully-produced broadcast-quality podcasts, test-drive your first session today from wherever you are on the web at  Airlift Productions.

“Weapons of Mass Production” ~ Airlift Productions, New Orleans

Airlift Mike, always as close as the mouse on your desktop or the cell in your pocket at #504.833.8450.

When quality counts ~ count on Airlift Productions.  Audio Alchemy & Digital Magic from New Orleans since 1984.

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MichealZiantsSeanOSheaAirliftProductionsAudiobookWork
Micheal Ziants & Sean O’Shea, navigating the twists & turns of AudioBook production

“Airlift Mike was a saint, and ridiculously patient and supportive (and helpful!!) for this audio book virgin. In another environment, without the support, and with pressure to perform “right”, I probably would have completely fallen apart. So the MVP for this getting done goes 100% to Mike and the chilled out environment he’s cultivated…personally and within his studio… A big heartfelt thanks to Mike and the years of expertise he brought to this project to ensure I sounded my very best. If you’re ever in Nola and need the best audio dude, and the best dude dude, holler at my man Mike with www.airliftproductions.com”

—- Los Angeles & NOLA-based Dog Trainer SEAN O’SHEA

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Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from New Orleans since 1984

Airlift Productions – we’ll leave the mics hot… and the light on for you.

From Recording Dr. Morgus & Dr. John…To Recording REAL Doctors in 2024! WTH?

SidNoelRideauMorgusRecordsVoiceOverForNewOrleansAtAirliftProductions
E.R.I.C. the talking skull records VoiceOver at Airlift Productions

I first met and recorded Sid Noel in 1986, Mac Rebennack in 1991, and all their personas, fame, makeup & feathers aside – these guys were real, sincere, down-to-earth humans to me.

And after all these rather remarkable recording sessions across decades with these rather remarkable individuals, the rather remarkable fact today is that here in 2024 I record and work with REAL doctors!

Life’s kinda funny like that sometimes, huh?

Does art imitate life, or is it the other way around?

DrJohnAutographToAirliftMike
Dr. John Autograph to Airlift Mike on old Airlift Iberville Street Notepad

My years recording and working with New Orleans’ magical, mythical & mystical Dr. John & Dr. Morgus are now history, and the subject of many posts within my blogs here. May they both rest in Power, as well as Paradise. But podcast recording with the REAL docs from Ochsner Hospital here in 2024 is something else all together.

Mac helped the world sing & dance, Sid had N’awlins in stitches, yet these “cut-ups” take it to a whole other level.

These ladies and gentlemen I record & work alongside today actually save lives! Treat cancer. Cure cancer. Moms, dads, loved ones live to see another day thanks to these folks.

Ochsner Cancer Doctors Podcasting at the Airlift mics (L-R) Johnson, Mizrahi, Burkeen MDs

Me? I’m just the middleman, pressing all the pretty buttons, adjusting mic levels, coaching, editing, uploading … and recording the podcasts.

Might I add, this one is not the job for the queasy, or for the hypochondriac among us!

So far we’ve tackled Melanoma, Lung Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Breast Cancer, Liver Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Leukemia (Cancer of the blood), et al. Yeah, line-up the usual suspects.

Colorectal Cancer Podcast Excerpt, courtesy the Ochsner Cancer Institute

Hosted by Dr. Jon Mizrahi, we call it “All In Against Cancer”, and you’ll find the entire series available for download free by clicking here… https://www.ochsner.org/lp/podcast-cancer

What’s that classic Jack Nicholson movie line? “You can’t handle the truth!?!” Well, when faced with one of these life-changing illnesses, it sure helps to get that heretofore un-face-able truth from the educated, well-informed, up-to-date troops in the frontlines of these ongoing cancer battles.

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

And through it all, I must confess that there are days here around the Airlift PROductions Campus, while working on these podcasts, when the sun hits the studio’s stained glass just right… I feel the presence & the spirit of those other “doctors”.

There’s New Orleans iconic otherworldly Dr. John & Dr. Morgus peering over my shoulders at the edit bay, and offering words of inspiration and wisdom.

MichealZiantsDrJohnBigEasyAwarcsNOLA
Dr. John & Airlift Mike, Big Easy Awards Show New Orleans 1995

OK, maybe not exactly wisdom, it’s more like words of encouragement — Sid/Morgus will whisper, “Chopsley-Mike, try that edit again! Make it a marvel of modern science. And now back to those idiots down at the station!”

Meanwhile, as to Mac /Dr. John? Well, he just says, “Chillax, big Mike, without question you are at exactly the right place. At the right time!”

Airlift PROductions, Audio Alchemy & Digital Magic from New Orleans …since 1984

Airlift PROductions Stained Glass Studio Window

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Nathan, while recording at Airlift Productions, on behalf of Macmillan Audio Books, NYC

“Mike is a master of his craft, a true audio artisan. The long days I spent recording my audio book with him were a joy. First and foremost, he is a meticulous professional who wants to make sure that the production achieves the best possible quality. Because of his extensive background as a voice actor, he can coach you in exactly how to make something sound serious, credible, and powerful.

And because he built the whole studio himself, he knows how to get the most out of his equipment and produce exceptional recordings. But more than that, Mike is not just a skilled producer. He’s a great guy, with a tranquil life philosophy that will put you at ease and make you feel comfortable enough to give your best effort. He knows how to make you feel good, from the mood lighting to his calming presence in your headphones. He’s funny, too, and has lots of great stories from his long career in radio.

I truly had a blast working with Mike and will write another book just to do a new audio book with him.” — NATHAN J. ROBINSON, Editor in chief of Current Affairs magazine and author of “Why You Should Be A Socialist”.

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Airlift Productions – From Dream to Reality Brick by Brick on Iberville

AirliftProductionsIbervilleLocationConstruction1989
Airlift Productions 3927 Iberville Street location, under construction in 1989

If you ever recorded at or visited or got silly during Friday ‘happy hours’ at the now-the-stuff-of-legend Airlift Productions Iberville Street location … have you ever paused to consider what it took to create that remarkable space?

It’s not too bold a statement to say that my blood is quite literally in the mortar that holds the very bricks in this wall together!  For though I am not a mason or a brick layer, I certainly played one in 1989 on Iberville Street.

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Airlift Productions Proprietor Micheal Ziants ~ like a proud papa ~ at the Airlift shingle, Iberville Street, NOLA 1992

With the help of just one other guy (Joe Delery now works in the crime division of the NOPD), I also pounded the nails, hung & floated sheet rock, packed insulation, laid carpet, and wired the entire facility. Whew! 

And oh, the people who were destined to walk through that front door to record within these walls … Peyton & Eli’s pop Archie Manning,   Mayor Marc Morial, his mother Sybil, the Rev. Avery C. Alexander, Romper Room’s “Miss Linda” Mintz,  Dr. Morgus the Magnificent, Ronnie Lamarque, I CAN Learn founder John R. Lee, WDSU’s Norman Robinson …

Dr. John Autograph to Airlift Mike on old Airlift Iberville Street Notepad
Dr. John Autograph to Airlift Mike on old Airlift Iberville Street Notepad

Dr. John (Mac Rebennack), Oliver Thomas, Senator Jon Johnson, Congressman Bill Jefferson, Academy Award winning documentary film maker Charles Guggenheim, Anders Osborne, Theresa Andersson, Bishop Paul Morton…

And a whole host of radio rebels, stand-up comics, misfits, in-laws & outlaws!

The mantra through the entire construction stage was ‘Build it…and they will come!’  What a passion, what a studio… what a time!

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Airlift Productions – as it looked in 1992 on Iberville Street … Reel-to-reel analog decks, outboard gear & mixer, the way recording used to be done. Oh, if only you’d lived then, kids.

** A “Mike McCann” classic VoiceOver/Production Demo from the 90s, all produced on Iberville with R-R tape – for NOLA clients like WVUE-TV, Pat O’Brien’s, Times-Picayune, etc. ***

But as much as I loved this location, Iberville street, the elevator, my Endymion parties, and having Venezia’s Italian food, Angelo Brocato’s, Mandina’s & Liuzza’s but a block or two walk away … I flooded twice at this location – and this was well before Mother Katrina came to town!

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Airlift Proprietor Micheal Ziants outside the Iberville haunts, shortly before the 2001 move to Pomona

So, I ran with my prophetic visions and in early 2001 moved the entire Airlift Productions business well out of the flood plain and to the high ground just the other side of the now-infamous breached 17th Street Canal .  To start over.

Yet again.

But Airlift on Pomona – along with its construction & marketing challenges – is the story for another blog and another time.

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AmyLandonRecordsAudiobooksAirliftProductionsNewOrleansMarch2017
Amy Landon recording audio books at Airlift Productions New Orleans, March 2017

“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 & Ultra-busy AudioBook Narrator

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New Orleans Premier VoiceOver & Recording Studio  ~ Audio Alchemy from the Big Easy … since 1984

Airlift Productions – we’ll leave the mics hot… and the light on for you.

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Merry Christmas! And An Open Letter From Jesus of Nazareth

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I am the one called Yeshua and was born some twenty centuries ago in a sleepy village known as Bethlehem, Israel, Middle-East on planet Earth in the backwaters of the Milky Way. And times were hard.

Slavery. False gods. Racism. Prejudice. Violence. And most of the known world lived under the boot of the Roman Empire. Today in 2023, sadly, these same problems persist – only the names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Ironically, I drove the money changers out of the temple all those centuries ago, only to see that the religions founded in my name have today all opened the doors widely. And let them all back in!

It would seem that my message of Love, Peace, Brotherhood, and Equality of all men has been hijacked by otherwise well-intentioned men who claim to follow me – only to use it to their own ends.  And all from separate camps.

JesusLooksDownFromCloudsAirliftProductionsFrom the Roman Catholic to the Protestant, from the Southern Baptist to the Jehovah Witness, from the Mormon … to David Koresh’s Branch Davidian compound at Waco – all have built WALLS to keep their believers IN, and the non-believers OUT.

A True Faith, a True Religion, indeed a True Spirituality should build bridges – not walls. The bridge, by definition, must touch both banks of the river, and allow for two-way traffic. I came to the 3rd rock from the sun to serve as a bridge … God the Father in Me became Man … so that one day man could become … and return to God.

And as to this fixation on the Cross? Way too much emphasis has been placed on the final ugly twelve hours of my life (from Gethsemane to Golgotha, thanks, Mel Gibson) fostering centuries of guilt, when the emphasis should be placed on the glorious, Joy-full, Joy-US way in which I lived each and every day of my Life!

After all, should I return today and be found guilty of similar ‘crimes against the state’/sedition and be sentenced to death, twenty centuries from today, would you be wearing an electric chair or a gurney with a syringe around your neck? I think not.

If there should be any symbol at all for my true followers – it should be the Open Tomb, for I came indeed to grant ALL the keys to eternal life.

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Yes, of course, my blood was shed for ALL  that fateful Friday on the ‘hill of skulls’, but what I wanted remembered and commemorated was the way in which I lived, not the excruciatingly painful way in which I “died” and went to the cross.

My LIFE is my message. Consider, as a case in point, my very first miracle – at the wedding feast at Cana.  Many know of the water that became wine in the jars of clay. But few realize that I was the very last to leave the dance floor that night.

And as to this Micheal who purports to put these words into my mouth?

Well, frankly, the Father & I have through all man’s centuries always chosen to work through plain, ordinary, salt-of-the-earth types – fishermen, shepherd boys, whores, even tax collectors.  Simply add one more sinner to the list.

Finally,  your Faith in me should not be relegated to an observance, head-bowed once a week in a building, in a church or temple. It should be knit into the everyday fabric of your daily life … and lived!

After all, I came to your planet not to be venerated.  But imitated.

Follow me.  Please?

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Oh, and I almost forgot. Merry Christ-mas to ALL from the New Jer-USA-lem!  And thanks for all the neat presents. You really shouldn’t have.

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Respectfully, and with prayers for the 3rd rock to IncreaseThePeace ~

Micheal Z

** Inspired by my personal reflection after reading Norman Mailer’s “Gospel According to the Son”. Have you? **