Tag Archives: Right Hat

It’s An Audio Christmas Card From Airlift Mike

From Nat King Cole’s “Chestnuts roasting…” to Bing Crosby’s “I’m dreaming…” to Karen Carpenter’s “Greeting cards have all been sent…” the Christmas holidays every year have always been about all things audio to me.

And since I long ago left the snow-covered northeast for warmer climes in New Orleans, I’ve also replaced the crunch of snow and the sound of snow shovels scraping across concrete sidewalks with holiday sounds of my own making.

Conveniently enough, my Airlift Productions Studios have long provided me the platform and vehicle for making those holiday sounds.

Funny. Sarcastic. Profound. Inspirational.

So, on this Christmas 2018, let’s queue up a few for this audio Christmas greeting from NOLA…

Archie Manning records with Airlift Productions

While I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Peyton or Eli Manning, I sure have met and worked with their pop Archie.

In the early days of the Airlift Studios down on the Crescent City’s Iberville Street, acting as writer and producer for Archie Manning’s Gold’s Gym, it was my job to work with Archie on his various different radio campaigns.

Among my fave creative efforts for Archie was this one, wherein I was Santa Claus and he was the kid on Santa’s knee at the mall telling me what he wanted for Christmas.

** Archie Manning’s Gold’s Gym ** from 1992 **

And with our Saints making a Super Bowl run here in late 2018, how much fun was that?

Another 1990s Christmas effort of mine has resurfaced here this Christmas season, as old pal Sue Bonano resurrected a couple spots of mine to air on Entercom radio stations here in 2018!

Yeah, it all sounds a bit crazy but, with a little editing, a radio ad that is now 23 years old, was brushed-off and aired all over NOLA this holiday season to lovers who weren’t even born when it first aired.

** Sue’s Jewelry “Because…” Radio Campaign, again in 2018 **

As the Christmas audio memories continue…

Hired by a Chicago-based ad agency called Right Hat in late 2015, I was tasked with lining-up the talent and recording a web-based “politically correct” Holiday greeting card for a Washington, D.C. law firm.

Wait a tick, a what?

That’s right.  A politically correct greeting card! So I tracked down a trio of very talented professors at our Loyola University to come to Airlift Productions to record a classic that would have old Ebeneezer himself doing a double take.

** Right Hat’s take on Christmas 2015, with Airlift Mike **

Whew! Let’s decompress after that one, OK?

And at the same time shift gears totally.

Shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific school shooting at Newtown, CT just before Christmas in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary, I was inspired to hit the Airlift Studios.

Taking an anonymous internet writing and adding Danny Elfman’s mystical score to my voice, I came up with an answer from the “other side” as to what happened to those beautiful young souls that fatefully painful December morning…

** Christmas Eve in Newtown  by Micheal Ziants**

Without a doubt, Jesus of Nazareth is the Reason for the Season!

But given the fissures & cracks in our 21st century society, is it any wonder why the season can be so paradoxically wonderfully troubling and problematic for so many?

Meanwhile, the prayers and reflections continue to this day…

Like I said, for this Christmas audio greeting card – Funny, Sarcastic, Profound, Inspirational.

Which pretty much sums up my feelings, my take here on my 66th Christmas here on the 3rd rock.

From yours truly and the Airlift krewe here on Pomona, here’s to a Merry Christmas!

And for 2019 – a wish for everyone across the planet to Increase the Peace.



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

Tah-Tah 2016! Hello-o-o 2017!

janusAs the calendar page turns, the balls drop, and the fireworks sizzle, together with the rest of America, allow me to wrap-up the old and welcome the new from New Orleans’ Airlift Productions.

To the ancient Romans, the god Janus (from whom we get the name of the month January) represented this rather two-faced sentiment.

Looking back . Yet forward. All at the same time.

Airlift Productions & I sure have had a wild and varied ride through the fall & early winter, but that’s the way we like it.

Variety, after all, is the spice of life. And in New Orleans, we certainly like our spices. 

What a roux!

From television commercial work to web-based holiday greeting cards …  from Christmas sentiment to radio imaging, through the past couple months, Airlift & I sure have stirred the pot.

Wendi Berman drops the mic with Airlift Mike on behalf of Right Hat & Manatt

Tasked by Chicago-based ad agency Right Hat to provide the audio for an internet law firm’s Holiday Greeting Card, I called on the talents of NOLA-based actress Wendi Berman.

Together, we recorded a rather clever “Night Before Christmas” parody involving the holiday office pressures of a harried and frustrated thirty-something office manager.

Oh, boy. Oh, joy.  Happy Holi-daze, cubicle worker bees!

Meanwhile, back at Airlift Productions, the roux thickens….

Airlift Mike working the Children’s Hospital Telethon in NOLA on WDSU-TV

Yours truly, Airlift Mike, got behind the mic, as well as drawing-up the storyboard with all the “creative”, for the gang at Mr. Sparky.

Working with video wizard Todd Schmidt and sales point guard Nathan Ales, I helped to cook-up this entree on behalf of the electricians down at our local Mr. Sparky.

Straight-ahead. No BS. “Electrifying”, you might even say, and now energizing flat screens all across metro New Orleans.

Television spots with vision, internet-based holiday cards … yet, as they say in the advertising world, “but wait, there’s more!”

Educational software pioneer – and my own personal BFF – JOHN LEE and I have been through quite the odyssey the past quarter century.

Katherine Lee records "Daddy Lessons" at Airlift Productions NOLA
Katherine Lee records “Daddy Lessons” at Airlift Productions NOLA

Together, we’ve not only created a trail-blazing approach to teaching America’s kids how ‘to cipher’ with a program that merges math text books with the computer and the internet … we’ve also seen each other through having and raising kids!

So, I get this call from John’s daughter Katherine a couple Sundays back looking for some help in putting together a very special kind of Christmas gift for her dad.

We call it “Daddy Lessons”, and it goes like this….

Katherine brought me a karaoke track from Beyonce’ Knowles, we dropped her voice into it, then added pictures from the family album at strategic points to deliver a powerfully poignant message for her daddy.

‘Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse’… let alone a dry eye to be found around the Christmas Lee house.

Great job, Kat-gal!

Variety? Ya think?

And I haven’t even gotten into more radio imaging sessions for Mike Church and his Crusade Network or recording Hip-Hop artist Staxx (Greg Baptiste) for the Real Deal Nation label & Jason Jones.

1407-nighttime-pomonacrateLooking back, 2016 sure has been quite the year around the Airlift Productions studios … with fun & exciting projects, working for and with some wildly talented & fascinating individuals.

Let’s ‘face’ it. 2016 or 2017, whether you’re looking back – or forward – the view from Airlift on Pomona is outstanding.

Happy New Year, y’all!


blackstoneaudiologo“I had the extreme pleasure of working with Mike of Airlift Productions for a project in 2016. He was professional, courteous and most importantly, fun to work with. Mike is patient and very thorough with his recording, making sure that what you want is done before he powers down the gear for the day. 10/10, I would work with him again.” -Jared Garcia, Sr. Recording Engineer for Blackstone Audio and Downpour.com


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

Spring Is Busting OUT All Over At Airlift Productions

AirliftProductionsSpringFlowersIt would appear that seeds sown through countless past seasons have now rooted, grown and indeed blossomed. Too flowery? Too poetic?  Not so much.  Run with me here…

While Airlift Productions clients of last century found Airlift & me via the Yellow Pages (“let your fingers do the walking…”), this Spring’s flowers have all been delivered through SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and that wacky Internet of Things.  Really.

Don Draper & Roger Sterling, those dashing Mad Men, would not even recognize the marketing landscape of today! And audio/video production crews of the 1970s and ’80s wouldn’t even have a clue as to what’s going down in 2015.

Through the Airlift Productions website and this blog, imagine the fascinating and interesting jobs produced already this Spring from the Airlift Productions studios here in NOLA —–

Jeorjina Tegel, the right-hand hands-on exec at Right Hat on this job. Thanks for your help, Jeorjina
Jeorjina Tegel, the right-hand hands-on exec at Right Hat on this job. Thanks for your help, Jeorjina.  To call this gig ‘interesting’ would be a gross understatement.

The call came just weeks ago from Elonide, the President of a Boston & Chicago-based Ad Agency, Right Hat, for some help – the job? A :30 radio ad, which would be overseen by the writer Andy, who lives in Manhattan… the spot would be voiced by four different voice actors (all working from their respective home studios), and yours truly was contracted to produce and engineer the finished spot (for a CPA firm) to air – in San Francisco!

All sound a bit confusing? Well, it certainly was ‘out there’ and different. The commercial involved EIGHTEEN cuts/edits – in a thirty second radio ad – and multiple attempts to find the just-right music.

And the entire job … from NOLA to Chicago to NYC to San Francisco began … with a Google/Bing search by Elonide at the helm of Right Hat

Airlift Productions records “The Boys Who Challenged Hitler” for Recorded Books, New York

Just two weeks ago, the Airlift Studios were really buzzing, as we phone-patched between NOLA and NYC (from the Big Apple to the Big Easy) to record the Audio Book “The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen & the Churchill Club”.

Contracted by Recorded Books in NYC,  the world’s largest independent distributor of audio books to libraries, schools & the retail market, Airlift Productions warmed-up the mics to record the book’s author Phil Hoose, as he interpreted the words of it’s hero.

Imagine, if you can, 1940s Danish teens, upset by Denmark’s neutral stance, who decide to take on the Gestapo, the Nazis and the 3rd Reich all by themselves … and spearhead Danish resistance. Wow! What a story.

Author PHIL HOOSE records “The Boys Who Challenged Hitler” at Airlift Productions NOLA April 2015

The sessions ran nine hours across two days, and all the wave files were directed via the Airlift phone-patch and neatly dropped back into Manhattan via an FTP site for use by their editors.

And Andy & his gang at Recorded Books found Airlift and me via the internet and a Google search.  As he let his ‘fingers do the walking’ – 21st century style.

Finally, just this past week, the call came into the Airlift Studios from Denver and a big post-production house called High Noon Entertainment.  These guys are the driving force behind many of your fave shows from TLC, Discovery, HGTV, Animal Planet & …. well, you get the idea.

As it turns out, the hot new show on The Cooking Channel is a fun one called “Taco Trip”, and it’s star, another fun one himself, is a close buddy & business partner with our NOLA chef John Besh.  And he needed to record VoiceOver tracks for the show.

The Cooking Channel’s AARON SANCHEZ cooks-up tasty VoiceOvers for TACO TRIP at Airlift Productions NOLA April 2015

Chef Aaron Sanchez blew in the Airlift Studio doors like a hurricane Wednesday morning, we set mic levels, then phone-patched between NOLA and Denver as producer Matt Walker walked the good chef through all his reads for the show.

Again, voila! Within the hour, all the big fat wave files were delivered to Denver, tagged & bagged and ready for air – on flat screens via cable & satellite on The Cooking Channel … all across America!

Airlift Mike – like the local fireman down at the firehouse – ready to take the call

Yeah, I guess you could say that Spring is busting out all over at Airlift Productions.  And if these are the April showers … what will May bring?

Stay tuned ….

Airlift Productions & Airlift Mike ~ delivering the Goods … from New Orleans since 1984