Tag Archives: Ziants

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.

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.

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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…

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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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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.

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

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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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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? **

What Makes a Voice Over Talent … Talented?

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The little, bespectacled goober front row left is 13 year old Micheal Ziants of Airlift Productions – part of the “Young Tom Edison” cast, Youngstown, Ohio Civic Children’s Theater, 1964

It has been said that the best VoiceOverTalents come from the STAGE not the RADIO because the theater and acting is at the heart of the craft – not broadcasting.

But what if a talent could combine both?

Yes, this blog could perhaps be seen as self-serving, tooting one’s own horn and sort of like ‘breaking the 4th wall’ in a Woody Allen movie where he addresses the camera directly, but here  goes:
 
While I began my broadcasting career in the 1970s and worked on-air in some of America’s greatest cities as well as for some of the USA’s hallmark companies – The Pulitzers in St. Louis & Billboard Magazine in Nashville –  for me it all began on the stage!
 
Airlift Mike with the Tribe of Ziants, front porch, Youngstown, Ohio, circa 1962

The acting bug bit me early and hard! In the 1960s it was the Civic Children’s Theater in Youngstown, Ohio that was my launch pad. Saturdays could find me onstage re-creating the stories of Peter Pan, Tom Edison or Robin Hood for hundreds of school age kids at a time.

 
I then went on through high school to become the President of the Thespian Club and had the leads in the Junior and Senior Class plays as well.
 
Using the human voice to arrest someone’s attention, intrigue them, and then motivate them to relate to a cause or sympathize with an issue seemed damned near magical.  I was hooked.
 
Later on, as a broadcaster and then as a voice over talent, I learned to call on these same skills, intuitive yet honed on a stage, and bring them all to the microphone!
 

               Shocking, Raw, Visceral – Adults Only ** Micheal reads from Pelican Publishing’s True Crime Drama “Murder in Coweta County”

So, again, what if the voice over artist – the person delivering the message at the microphone – could combine innate, yet trained, acting chops plus vast commercial broadcast experience plus decades of technical, hands-on production experience?
 
OK, here comes the horn tooting part: that would be – ME!
 
Do you want to book a voice talent with experience?  With theater in his blood? With years of broadcasting & audio production thrown in ala carte? 
 
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Broadcast Veteran – and Actor – Micheal Ziants, plying his trade at the Airlift Studios
 
Then you want to book, hire, make the call – Airlift Productions, New Orleans Premier Voice Over Recording Studio!
 
(I know, cheeky, huh?)
 
We now return you to your regularly scheduled internet browsing, already in progress…
 
 

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Texan Peg Jones at work station

“I listened to a lot of voices to represent Detective Lt. Robert (Robbo) Davidson for our audiobook version of “The Evil I Have Seen” and none quite fit. At last, I did a search for a commanding, seasoned, slightly Southern voice — and pulled up Airlift Productions of NOLA. I clicked on Micheal’s sample narrations of “Murder in Coweta County” then James Patterson’s “The Chef,” and I was hooked. No one else would do.

I was surprisingly delighted after speaking with Micheal to learn, he would not agree to narrate and produce the audiobook until he read it. He wasn’t in it just for money — he would only partner on material he believed to be worthwhile. It has been a delightful, rewarding experience and Robbo and I could not be more proud of the way he brought this book to life.” — Author PJ Jones

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Airlift Productions ~ Recording With Mood & Attitude!

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Airlift Productions Recording Studio & PROduction House, New Orleans Panoramic Studio Pic… My digital-meets-analogue “more than a man cave” connection to the planet.

With all the equipment in the Airlift Productions studios – bouncing meters, glowing lights, ‘bells & whistles’ – the one thing visitors and clients seem to remark the most about is, strangely enough, the Window!

Its custom-cut, stained glass beauty captures every New Orleans sunset from it’s setting in the western wall of the studio, and gives constant feedback on current sky conditions as it reflects the tempo of each and every recording day.

Inspired by ancient Mayan illustrations and pyramid hieroglyphics, it was custom-designed to carry the colors of the Airlift Studios into its intricate artwork – from the passionate purple of the walls to the midnight blue carpet & charcoal grey acoustic foamed walls.

“The Gift of Life”, as it is called, symbolizes the spiritual journey of man.

At the center is the flame-like symbol of God who is Light & Life, the Creator of All.

The Triangle – symbolizing Mind, Spirit & Soul enlightened by God in its midst – is within the circle that signifies God is All in All, without beginning or end.

Surrounding the circle are the glyph signs for sky, earth’s abundance, and precious water.

And this magnificent artwork accomplishes all this spiritually without being overtly religious, to say nothing of ‘choosing up sides’ –  favoring one religion, faith,  or approach over another.

“The Gift of Life” also serves as the perfect backdrop and vibe for all the intensely creative audio projects & work being recorded and captured at the Airlift Productions Studios.

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The Airlift Productions “Engine Room” ~ a view into the studio control room, as seen from the Talent room, along with the “Gift of Life”, Myron’s Discobolus … and the Laughing Christ.

Catch the Fire!  At the  Airlift Productions Recording Studio  ~ Audio Alchemy from NOLA since 1984

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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 over 20 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, New Orleans, LA, USA

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The Immortal Wayne Dyer & His Airlift Legacy

WayneDyerHandsClaspedTrue, but hard to believe, this summer marks eight years (8-29-2015) since Dr. Wayne Dyer drew his last breath and proceeded to drop his body an ocean away in Hawaii.

I first met Wayne through a series of audio cassettes I’d ordered from Nightingale-Conant in Chicago.  The series was called “The Awakened Life”. The year was 1987.  And my life was never the same.

Wayne introduced me to eastern, metaphysical, transcendent thought, he opened my eyes – and spirit – as he challenged me to take chances with my life that I would have never dared in the past. I learned to jump off cliffs … and build wings on the way down.

Emerson & Thoreau came alive for me,  sacred scripture never rang so true, mystical sages of history spoke clearly in my ears,  as night-after-night I listened to Wayne unraveling and demystifying thought concepts that for so long were so foreign to me.

That’s all changed. Thanks, Wayne.

Through what is now decades of his lectures, writings & teachings, he introduced me to Alan Watts, Deepak Chopra, Ram Dass, Carl Jung, and many others. Together, we’ve traveled the shores of Galilee with Jesus of Nazareth, meditated under the bodhi tree with the Buddha, and ridden camel-back with Muhammad across the sands of Mecca.

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My autographed copy of Wayne’s “The Secrets To Manifesting Your Destiny” program

We first met personally in March of 1997 at a Life Expo here in New Orleans. I confessed to him that he had very directly inspired me to ‘roll the dice’ and move my Airlift Productions business from my closet to a bonafide store-front with shingle out front on Iberville Street back in ’89.

He laughed and would take no credit whatsoever, saying that he never wanted to be anyone’s ‘guru’.  Further joking that if he ever took credit for anyone’s success that he’d also have to share the blame for their failures! 🙂

It was roughly a year later, while I was leading a  production team working for a NYC-based ad agency recording radio commercials in Toronto, Canada that we met again.

This time the visit was much more personal.

Through our days-long, sleep-deprived job in Toronto, I had quoted Wayne’s most incredible body of work extensively to the team I’d traveled with to Canada. At the end of the convention, we then rushed off to the airport to catch our flight back to New Orleans.

Dr.-Wayne-Dyer-RIP-at75_8-30-15Dog-tired, with my head down, waiting for our plane, a pair of sandaled feet walked past my field of vision. I looked up – and it was Wayne Dyer!

Together with his assistant Maya, he was en route  from addressing a seminar in Amsterdam, headed back to his family in south Florida. As I shook my head in surprise and astonishment, he joked, “Well, Micheal, it would seem that you manifested ME!”

We proceeded to talk and laugh together for a half-hour!

And we talked about EVERYTHING:  Life, loves, disappointments, divorce, enlightenment, authorship, radio, recording, music, the Book of Tao, the Gita, days of future passed … he even was very complimentary about my voice.  Wow.

WayneDyerSeriousLookThen, called to our respective planes, we parted.  I will always treasure this remarkable day, and my not-so-coincidental conversation and time spent with this most remarkable spirit.

Dr. Dyer, quite frankly,  I am at a loss for words to describe the impact you’ve made on my life.  And, through my life and my Airlift Productions – and the lessons you’ve taught me – the impact I have then made on countless hundreds of other lives.

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It has been said that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.  From the bottom of my heart and the height of my spirit, brother Wayne, thanks for appearing in my life… and sharing your candle with me.

 

Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from NOLA since 1984 (with a special assist-on-the-play from Dr. Wayne Dyer)

 

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(L-R) Don Banks , Dawn Vachon, Bo “Boots” Walker, Airlift Mike on a lunch break in NOLA, pre-Covid-19, no “social distancing”

The Airlift Productions Studio itself is a mirror of Micheal; warm and inviting. I immediately feel at home when I’m there…never rushed, always cordial (great coffee) and I feel like MY project is the most important thing on his mind…total focus. It’s rare to find this kind of personal service. I never have any doubt that whatever I’m working on at Airlift will come out sounding great…always! If you want professional results; use a professional…Micheal Ziants at Airlift Productions IS that professional.” — BO WALKER, Former Production Director at New Orleans’ iHeart Media Stations (and in 2023, a Utah-based recovering radio rebel.)

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

AirliftProductionsInTheHurricanesEyeOn day one of the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season, some personal reflection —The National Weather Service defines the “Eye” as the region of mostly calm weather at the center of strong tropical cyclones.

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

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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 change to Gannet/Tegna, and Entercom to Audacy –  my oh 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, while at the same time, tacking into the winds of change.

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 collage of a Life lived in the Hurricane’s Eye…

Bing Search Engine “Airlift Productions” Image Collage 2023

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, Deuce McAllister, Congressman Steve Scalise, Amy Landon, Dr. Morgus/Sid Noel, Rachel Wulff, Tim Weston, Jamie Neumann, Sean O’Shea, Sister Thecla, even studio mascot The Shadeaux, the studio’s stained glass window and game room!

From radio commercials, TV voice-overs, podcasts & audio books, to educational software, industrial training & safety videos,  and 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.

“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 late 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? AI, VR, the Metaverse?

Well, whatever it is, you can rest assured that Airlift Productions and I will be there, sitting calmly determined & ever persistent – in the Hurricane’s Eye.

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Airlift’s Micheal Ziants (Right) with actor Joe Rainer 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 mics hot and the light on for you.