Tag Archives: the 1970s

Airlift Mike ~ Footprints In The Sands Of Time?

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!

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

And 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.

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,  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.

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 … 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 capitol city. Footprints…or skid marks.  Either way, I wouldn’t change a thing or trade a day. 

In the meantime, the mics are hot and the creative juices are still flowing … in NOLA …  every day … at AirliftProductions.com 



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

Oh, Captain! My Captain! Remembering WKBO & J. Albert Dame

J. Albert Dame as a young broadcasting buckeroo entertaining Kittanning, PA

Pardon me as I lace-up the Adidas for yet another jog down memory lane, but there are people you meet in life who change your life. Know what I mean? Meet one of mine.

It was the spring of 1973, and I wanted out of country radio and booth announcing at a TV station in Youngstown, Ohio, and INTO rock ‘n roll Top 40 radio so bad I could taste it!



J. Albert Dame, PA Media Giant, died June 5th, 2016

No one wanted to talk with me about it except this guy.

I first met J. Albert Dame, along with his partner Mike Rea, behind the closed doors of a 3rd story walk-up radio station at 31 North Second Street in Harrisburg, PA. Program Director, Alexander-in-the-morning (Bob Klepic), wanted to give me the afternoon drive shift at the Rock of Harrisburg WKBO, but the decision rested on J. Al’s shoulders.

April-May 1977 Harrisburg, PA Arbitron Afternoon Ratings for John Saint John
April-May 1977 Harrisburg, PA Arbitron Afternoon Ratings for John Saint John (WKBO is underlined)

He took the gamble, and my real radio career was off to the races. He trusted me (what was he thinking?) with a LIVE microphone every afternoon for over five years, as I learned on-the-job what REAL radio was about, while earning a buck – and his TRUST.

My business card in the '70s - made for me, and given to me by J. Albert Dame
My business card in the ’70s – made for me, and given to me by J. Albert Dame

I was a then-twenty-year-old, away from home in the big city, and J. Al was like a 2nd father to me, doling out advice, compassion, and genuine concern for my well being.

Ironically, while Al loved what I brought to the mic on-air in afternoons, many was the time that he told me that my future would be in production!

Thanks, Al.  For everything.

Well, this past weekend, Mr. Dame decided to drop his body…and move on to the ‘other side’, and I wanted to pay him homage and love and respect by sharing this brief note with you.

J. Al's Memo to the WKBO staff upon John Saint John's exit for St. Louis
J. Al’s Memo to the WKBO staff upon John Saint John’s exit for St. Louis

As the world of broadcasting observes a moment of dead-air silence at his passing, I merely wanted to add my heartfelt sentiments and admiration.

Peace, prayers & angelic support to the Dame family, may God Bless You, Al, and let me spin one from New Orleans for you, Oh,Captain, My Captain …”Oh, when the Saints…go marchin’ in….”


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