THE AIRLIFT STORY

 

 


     Micheal G. Ziants is the founder and proprietor of Airlift Productions.  His career has spanned three decades and includes on-air, drive-time disc jockey/air personality positions in New Orleans (Q-93/WQUE-FM); St. Louis (KSD/NBC-Pulitzer);  Nashville (WLAC/Billboard Magazine);  Philadelphia (WIFI-FM /General Cinema Corp.); and Harrisburg, PA (where it all began at WKBO)... known as John St. John, or (in New Orleans) as Mike McCann.

Airlift Productions, founded in 1984, originally specialized in radio & tv commercial production, but soon expanded to include industrial & training narrations for clients like Anheuser-Busch, Monsanto, Shell Oil and Pan American Life, as well as interactive audio tracks for computer software programs such as the nationally distributed I CAN LEARN  mathematics program, produced by JRL Enterprises.

Airlift also plays in the musical arena by producing artist/musician demo CDs and MP3s, complete CD projects, and jingles... as well as voice-over demos for aspiring announcers.

Additionally, Micheal's first step into the spoken word genre - "Soft Words, Warm Nights" -  a compact disc anthology of romantic poetry through the ages, produced with music & sound effects - is a part of the permanent collections of both the Library of Congress and the Los Angeles County Public Library, was featured and sold in the Playboy Catalogue, and is available today for download from MediaBay.com or on CD by calling 1-800-210-WORD.







    Micheal's radio travels and life experiences -- as alter-egos  John St. John & Mike McCann  -- have informed his life, and uniquely qualified him to helm Airlift Productions, and he wouldn't trade or change even one day.  For instance,  imagine sitting poolside over Budweisers and "hanging" backstage in the mid-70's with the originator of "shock rock" - ALICE COOPER  (aka - Vincent Furnier) during his "Welcome to My Nightmare" tour...





    ... or spending an entire day in Harrisburg, PA with the late HARRY CHAPIN (along with his son,  Jason, for whom he wrote the legendary "Cat's in the Cradle") ... "we ate cheeseburgers, made each other laugh, and just talked about life" ... and no comments about the hair, huh? I mean it WAS the 70's...





 
    ... destiny turns on a dime, and Mike's definitely turned when Q-93 radio called in June 1983 and hired him for afternoon drive in New Orleans.  "I first met John and Steve at a picture session for the Times-Picayune atop the Tidewater Place building above the studios on Canal Street... I remember coming away from the affair that night saying -- Is there something wrong with me, or is there something wrong with THESE guys?!?"... we'll let you and history be the judge of that...


 

... an on-air visit with comedian/actor SINBAD (aka - David Atkins) during a three-hour broadcast from Q-93's studios in New Orleans was a riot... who knew all he ever really wanted to be was a Harlem Globetrotter? ....





... performing as "Live Announcer" for New Orleans' BIG EASY ENTERTAINMENT AWARDS SHOW for ten straight years gave Mike the opportunity to work... and party with the enigmatic, iconic "Nite Tripper" - DR. JOHN (aka - Mac Rebennack)....


... subsequent  voice-over recording sessions for Quincy Jones' people with the good doctor at AIRLIFT PRODUCTIONS' studios on Iberville later yielded this rather mystical, mythical... and quite detailed autograph on an old Airlift notepad...



... Academy Award & Golden Globes nominee - and long-running girlfriend, Claire, to NBC-TV's "Frazier" (as well as appearing on the small screen's "6-Feet Under" on HBO) - PATRICIA "PATTI" CLARKSON - took time off as Hollywood's most sought-after actress to go "slumming" with Mike at the Big Easy Awards...



... piloting an A-4 Skyhawk fighter jet, hurtling 500 mph, upside-down over the Gulf of Mexico with the BLUE ANGELS was quite simply an out-of-this-world experience... "he let me FLY the plane!"  On a sad note, LT. COMMANDER MIKE GERSHON and the #7 plane pictured here are no more - - - they were both tragically lost the very next year in a fiery crash at an airshow at the Niagara Falls International Airport in New York...


 

...in the mid-90's, Micheal paired with legendary New Orleans TV icon "Miss Linda" - LINDA MINTZ - to record an anthology of romantic love poetry through the ages, produced with lush new-age music and sound effects... SOFT WORDS, WARM NIGHTS was warmly received by critics and the public, selling over 3,500 copies to libraries, bookstores & catalogue  concerns (kudos to marketing pal, Charlie Biondo) ... it was even considered for a GRAMMY AWARD and sold over 500 copies through the Playboy Catalogue in Chicago....




  

  ... meeting HUGH HEFNER personally at the American Booksellers Association Trade Show in Chicago  1995 to get the ball rolling with the Playboy Catalogue to sell and market  SOFT WORDS, WARM NIGHTS was an amazing, humbling, and eye-opening  experience....


... a "spring break" romp to Manhattan, NYC  in 2002 (shortly after the events of 9-11) gave Mike the chance to catch-up with RUPERT JEE  (of "the CBS Late Show with David Letterman") at his 'Hello Deli' - - - to discuss the finer points of recording technique, along with Hinduism, the Kama Sutra... and Gandhi.....









... the summer  of 2004 saw the beginning of a five-year commitment to producing CHILDRENS' MIRACLE NETWORK TELETHON theme songs with the WDSU-TV  Krewe...  working with RICH LENZ, HEATH ALLEN & NORMAN ROBINSON,  together with Clear Channel's production ace, BO WALKER & Bag of Donuts' bass pro,  JERRY CHRISTOPHER,  was among the best times Airlift has ever seen ...  as  brothers-in-arms, we helped to raise millions of dollars to care for the kids in the New Orleans area who need it most at our CHILDRENS' HOSPITAL...






      ... Mike appeared on-stage at the Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC in December 2004 - -  on behalf of John Lee of JRL Enterprises and "I CAN LEARN" - - addressing the National Education Association during their 10th Annual Awards Gala...






     ... Trade or change a day?  I don't think so.  It's all good!  Life is all about building on the past, thoroughly enjoying the present, and looking expectantly with an eye to the future.  After all, "yesterday is history... tomorrow a mystery... but today is a gift... why do you think we call it the 'present'?"...






     ... August 2006 found Mike behind the mic & on-camera producing corporate safety videos for SEACOR MARINE WORLDWIDE - over 150 miles into the Gulf of Mexico in over 6,000 feet of water - AND green-screened on a soundstage as SPOCK in a spoof called "Safety Trek".  "Live Long & Prosper"....




   

... from audio archival recording sessions with the late Academy Award-winning documentary film-maker  CHARLES GUGGENHEIM on his last film "Shadows of Hate", teaching racial tolerance ... to producing interactive computer voice prompts teaching mathematics in America's public schools coast-to-coast...  AIRLIFT PRODUCTIONS - in 2017- remains true to it's original mission statement:  To serve as a CATALYST for POSITIVE CHANGE both in New Orleans and across America...






 

    ... every New Orleans sunset is captured through the custom-cut, stained glass window set into the western wall of the Airlift studios.  It's called "THE GIFT OF LIFE", is patterned after an ancient Mayan sacred symbol... and stands as a memorial to Micheal's pop, CHARLIE ZIANTS... "Illegitimus non carborundum est..."  Indeed, pop, indeed....




AIRLIFT PRODUCTIONS... DIGITAL AUDIO RECORDING WITH PROFESSIONAL VOICES HEARD ALL OVER AMERICA