Tag Archives: Paul Atkinson

New Orleans TV News Drops Anchor(s) at Airlift Productions

(L-R) Airlift’s Micheal Ziants, Norman Robinson, Heath Allen, Rich Lenz at the WDSU-TV Studios for the CMN Telethon

Norman Robinson. Lee Zurik. Camille Whitworth. Rich Lenz. Heath Allen. Rachel Wulff.

Round up the usual suspects.

I have –  to record various voice-over projects here in New Orleans at Airlift Productions.

I first met and recorded Norman Robinson in 1991. He was fresh back in NOLA from the White House CBS-TV Network news beat, and was the newly-ordained anchor man at our WDSU.

Little did we then realize, or even think about future days, but the fact is, 32 years later, we’re still at it!

Anchor man NORMAN ROBINSON brushing-up his VoiceOver skills at Airlift Productions NOLA

Our most recent project? Recording and compiling every electronic message for every streetcar and bus – even the ferries – in the city of New Orleans.

“Senior citizens ride the bus for only 40 cents”… “Please look around you for any personal items you may have left behind before exiting the vehicle. Next stop, Canal Street.”

NORTA – the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority – tagged Norman and me to record well over 1,500 wav files for use in their system citywide.

** Norman narrates NORTA’s ‘Go Mobile’ App Tutorial **

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

Rich Lenz now calls  Tulsa, OK & OETA home, a gone pecan from NOLA for well over ten years now (gee, Thanks, Katrina), but he served for 16 years as sports director/anchor at WDSU.

Richie and I’ve recorded countless tunes together, including epic anthems to herald the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon fund-raising year-after-year to benefit and support our Children’s Hospital’s life saving efforts for our kids.

** the 1st, of many, Telethon Tunes for Children’s Hospital **

Rachel Wulff records her VoiceOver Demo at Airlift Productions NOLA

After meeting former WWL/WDSU anchor gal Rachel Wulff around the aisles of our local Lowe’s Home Improvement store, I helped Rachel improve her post-anchor life and UP her game by producing a VoiceOver demo for her.

Very nice.

** Rachel’s VO Demo, with her daughter’s cutesy intro **

Fox-8/WVUE’s solid anchor dude – and award-winning investigative reporter – Lee Zurik and I work together on projects for video ace Paul Atkinson.

Airlift Mike, Lee Zurik, Paul Atkinson – “Glory Days” sessions

The latest project? VoiceOver for “Glory Days”, an homage to the passions and victories of Newman High School’s football program.

As it turns out, Lee was on the same team at Newman with a local boy-made-good you may have heard of – the NFL’s Peyton Manning.

** Lee Zurik narrates “Glory Days” with Airlift Mike **

Man, that must’ve been some wild locker room, huh?

L-R. Micheal Ziants, Heath Allen, Rich Lenz, Brian Landry, making music at Airlift Productions NOLA

The Airlift Productions studio doors are always open to Heath Allen . A veteran reporter for decades at WDSU.  Heath carved-out his reputation in the early days all over Baton Rouge TV, and is today enjoying a well-deserved retirement on the north shore with his Janet.

His compassionate, and knowledgeable in-the-field reporting was always incisive and spot-on. And he picks quite a guitar, at that. The magic Heath brought to our Children’s Hospital Telethon tunes is the stuff of legend.

2023 continues to see local NOLA news veteran Camille Whitworth drop by from time to time for various VO commercial and industrial projects.

Camille Whitworth sets the VO mood at Airlift Productions NOLA

Camille dedicated years to  the anchor chair at WDSU, and today fills her days public speaking, doing on-camera work for our East Jefferson Hospital, and recording various VoiceOver projects for clients in and around NOLA.

Dependable, personable, and experienced, Camille is always fun to have around the Airlift Studios.

Truth is, there is simply no reason or need for news anchors to walk away from their skills & finely-honed talents when they walk away from the nightly news anchor desk.

Norman, Rich, Heath, Rachel, Lee & Camille are all exceptionally fine and experienced talents with, as the expression goes, ‘ a lot of good miles left on their tires’.

It has also been said, and rightly so, that journalism, as well as the nightly news, is ‘History – the first draft’.

I am so gratified – and humbled – that these remarkable ladies and gentlemen have all chosen to work with me and Airlift Productions to write new chapters.

And, as Paul Harvey used to intone, tell ‘the rest of the story’.


Airlift Productions Proprietor Micheal Ziants shoulder-to-shoulder with JAMES CARVILLE at the Airlift Studios

“I’ve been in studios from the Bayou to the Beltway and I can say after recording my last two audio books with Mike that there is no better place than Airlift Productions. The quality of the production, the studio, and frankly the comfort make it the only place I want to record now or in the future”— JAMES CARVILLE, Political commentator, Tulane professor & Campaign Strategist behind the most dramatic political victories of our generation


Airlift Productions – where the warmth of analogue lives. And the lightning speed of digital delivers.

Katrina + 10 ~ Memories, Dreams & Reflections From NOLA

NOAA's Official Track of Hurricane Katrina ten years ago on that Fate-full Summer of 2005
NOAA’s Official Track of Hurricane Katrina ten years ago in that Fate-full Summer of 2005

OK, as blogs go, this one may be a bit more painful than most.  And as I sit today, comfortably in the A/C, at the Airlift Productions Studios in NOLA, it’s hard to believe that as I write this, we’re a decade down the road.

Frankly, I do not have enough fingers and toes to count all the people that I know personally who lost everything – homes, cars, all the worldly possessions of a lifetime – through the aftermath of this one storm.

Folks who, like me, packed-up the car with enough clothes and necessities for a 3-day evacuation, convinced we’d be back home, snug in our own beds by Tuesday.

KatrinaSurvivor_9-1--05Mother Nature … and that Mother Katrina had other ideas.

As the ‘homes’ they returned to were buried to the rooftops in Katrina & Lake Pontchartrain’s floodwaters!

And as if ‘things’ weren’t enough to lose, I even had friends who – in fits of despair and hopelessness – chose to end their very lives.


Like I said.  A blog more painful than most.

Yet, as the Ten Year Anniversary rolls around  – Katrina roared into town August 29th, 2005 – it’s time for NOLA and the Nation to reflect. Reflect on where we’ve been.  And where we are.

Micheal Ziants mic-side with Norman Robinson, working on ‘Storm Challenge’ for Versatile Productions & Versabar

Through the past couple weeks I’ve had the pleasure of working with Paul Atkinson, producer/videographer with Versatile Productions, who hired me to record my old pal Norman Robinson for a documentary he’s working on about the storm, the aftermath, and repairs made – to both our infrastructure … and New Orleans’ collective human spirit.

While it was good to work with Norman again, and meet Paul, at times the sheer weight of the project loomed rather heavily in the Airlift Productions Studios.

Give a LISTEN to just a bit of what went down at the Airlift Productions mics on this project,  remembering Hurricane Katrina….

** Norman Robinson records Katrina Documentary VoiceOver at Airlift Productions, New Orleans – August 2015 **

Norman Robinson in the Airlift Productions Studios August 2015

Through ten very painful – and yet encouraging – years of rebuilding, along with all it’s survivors, I’ve heard all the aphorisms and cliches, but the one that reverberates most true is the classic – “That which does not kill us only makes us stronger”.

If indeed that’s true, to readers of this blog from around America, come on down! Come bring your tourist dollars, appetites & senses … and feel the muscle of America’s most fascinating & resilient city ~ New Orleans, LA!


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

 “No recording studio I have worked with has given such personal attention toward perfecting the ‘science of sound’ than Airlift Productions in the hands of Micheal Ziants.  I thank him for the many voice-overs and sound effects he produced for my syndicated television shows “MORGUS PRESENTS”!  ~ DR. MOMUS ALEXANDER MORGUS,  aka Sidney Noel Rideau