Skippack entrepreneur growing his Manhattan recording studio

Much of the time Mike Zirinsky runs his highly successful voice over recording studio in Manhattan from his home in Skippack.
Much of the time Mike Zirinsky runs his highly successful voice over recording studio in Manhattan from his home in Skippack. Submitted photo

SKIPPACK >> Midtown Manhattan may be more than a country mile from Skippack, but to CMD owner Mike Zirinsky his state-of-the-art New York recording studio can seem like just a stone’s throw away from home.

“ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) and Source-Connect allow us to connect remotely with talent and clients anywhere in the world at broadcast quality,” Zirinsky said.

Since taking over the renowned Creative Media Design voice over company four years ago, Zirinsky has grown the business while rebranding the name down to its initials and fine-tuning operations, at least some of the time, from his home in the burbs of Montgomery County.

With a roster of clients that includes the NFL, Nike and Mercedes-Benz and Mastercard, CMD handles all manner of TV and radio ads — in addition to foreign language dubbing, animation, medical narration, web content, game audio and more — from recording to mixing and production, in a Pro Tools HD penthouse recording studio on West 37th Street in the Midtown South area of New York City that Zirinsky said he was lucky to find.

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“We were in a facility that was nine blocks from where we are now,” he noted. “I knew when I bought the business we were going to be forced to move because the landlord wasn’t renewing any leases. So it was a big effort. It’s hard to find a building for a studio because you have to be really sound conscious. It can’t be a wood building because sound travels through wood. So it has to be a concrete building, and it’s ideal if it’s at the top.”

According to the CMD website (cmdnyc.com), the “new digs feature two expanded studios, private client conference rooms, a reception area, kitchen and sunlit lounge overlooking the Empire State Building.”

Some of his clients are more hands-on than others, noted Zirinsky, a former financial services guy who was looking for a new venture all his own when a broker put him in touch with the established voice over business up for sale.

“We have a diverse group of clients; some come to us directly without the relationship of an ad agency or a production house. An example of that would be NBC. But most do come from ad agencies and houses. With some voice over jobs, the client wants someone live in Manhattan recording it because sometimes the client will attend, while others will allow them to connect remotely, and that’s actually where most of the industry is headed,” Zirinsky said. “But I don’t think it will ever all go that direction because there are still some clients, especially on the bigger projects, where a client is spending a lot of money, where they want to be there live when it’s being recorded. They want to have interaction. And that’s kind of the piece of it that we cater to.”

The newest segment of his ever-growing company is The Voice Shop at CMD, which offers both seasoned voice over talent and hopeful neophytes voice coaching by industry veterans.

One of those coaching veterans, Mike George, happens to be the guy who founded CMD, Zirinsky pointed out.

“He’s a very successful voice over talent himself and he still does a bunch of jobs for us, and he agreed to be one of our coaches. I reached out to some of the experienced talent about coaching and they were very willing to coach,” he said. “And that’s hard to find, because coaching generally doesn’t pay as much as a voice over job. But some are really interested in helping people get into the industry and get better at their art.”

It turns out that the voice over company that courts both corporate giants and little nonprofits with the assurance that “from ‘surfer dude’ to ‘distinguished gentlemen,’ we have exactly what you are looking for,” is more than willing to guide all stages of talent in the right direction.

“We had a lot of interest from voice over talent asking us where they can go to get better and learn more about the business if they were new to it,” Zirinsky said. “Others had been in the business for 10 years or more and just wanted another set of ears to give them some direction. I had so many people asking me I thought maybe this is something we could fill the gap in, so we got into coaching and finding jobs for people. We can’t guarantee them jobs,” Zirinsky added, “but it you’re a certain type of voice and you have good skills, even if you’re not gifted right off the bat, we’ll help you get to a point where hopefully we can help get you some work.”