John Preston in Queensland has forwarded
the following message from Phil Lentz, regarding Mike Ahern:
I was Production Manager at 4BC in Brisbane in 1976 and 77, and Mike Ahern was the Breakfast jock at that time.
We were both sent to London in 1977 for ten days (for no particular reason) to do a Breakfast OB from Capital Radio. While we were there, we visited Tony Blackburn at the BBC who Mike had worked with on Caroline. We also went to Liverpool for the day to visit Mike's mum.
As I remember the story, Mike worked in a record store in Liverpool before getting his break on Radio Caroline where he became a big star. When the British government decided to prevent those who worked on pirate stations from re-entering the country, Mike decided to move to the BBC where they only gave him a Top 10 show once a week (one hour I think). Mike hated all the rules and regulations of working for a government station.
Shortly after his brief stint at the BBC, he came to Australia to seek his fame and fortune, and had some difficulty getting an on-air job (because of his accent) until Blanche Lather (Programme Director at 4BC in the late 60's / 70's) gave him a shot.
He did Nights for quite a while, and introduced a character (actually a SFX cart) who school kids could get to gobble up their teachers. (Bruce McCartney used the same idea in the 1980's.)
Mike had, I think, two stints at 6PM in Perth during the 70s, once as a jock and once as Programme Director.
After he left 4BC in the 1980's, he went to 2KO in Newcastle, and last I heard he was running a small advertising agency or similar type of business in Newcastle.
All the best, Phil Lentz, Program Director, Sky Radio, Australia
The above message prompted a comment from Steve Young:
Hi Chris & Mary,
It was interesting to read the message from Phil Lentz about Mike Ahern. And so the saga of Mike ('your deejay Mike A') continues.
In 1996 I received a phone call from Mike and Patrick Hammerton (aka Mark Sloan). They had been at the boozer and somehow tracked me down here on the west coast of Canada.
From that time on, for a couple of years, Mike and I exchanged tapes and talked on the phone. I was so pleased to be back in touch with him, he's a fabulous guy and a great broadcaster. Initially Mike was working at Capital Gold but somewhere along the way his contract was not renewed.
He spent some time kicking around a couple of other stations (GLR doing an all-night talk show, on which I did a couple of segments with him via long-distance phone from Vancouver Island). He then went, briefly, to a station in Cambridge and was trying to sell his flat in London. Shortly after that he seemed to vanish into thin air. I'd dearly like to reconnect with him again so if anyone knows his whereabouts at this time I'd be most grateful to hear from them.
This is just one of the good things about this site, it is a meeting ground for all of us who are "floating around" out here trying to get back in touch with friends and memories from, what I think, were the best days of radio... ever! Thanks Chris and Mary for keeping this site alive.
Best Wishes, Steve Young, Victoria, BC, Canada
Very few Anoraks will disagree with Steve about "the best days of radio... ever!"
Des Ainsworth writes:
Chris and Mary,
Firstly, congratulations on such an interesting/informative site; I'm a frequent visitor ever since I came across it during the RSL Broadcasts last August. Good too to see the number of Broadcasters contributing to your project. In particular, thanks to Peter Young an excellent/underrated presenter for his info on Mike Raven, another fine site.
The other reason for writing is to pass on some info on Mike Ahern, which I came across on yet another excellent site, that of "Media UK" at:
One of the many services they provide is a forum on a range of media topics, especially radio. I frequently visit the radio forum and recently there has been some discussion on presenters who still should be on radio. This led to some comments about Mike Ahern and I have taken the liberty of copying some of these from the Media UK Website:
"IMHO one of the greatest EVER jocks is Mike Aherne (ex-Caroline, Essex, Capital Gold, RTL Country etc.) Anybody know what he's doing now?"
Paul Easton replied 01 February 2001 7:52pm
"Mike Ahern (no 'e') is currently 'London correspondent' for a major Australian station. However, if you, or anybody else, has any other (genuine!) offers of employment, I would be happy to put his agent in touch with you."
I think Paul Easton was a producer at Capital Radio around the
time Mike was on Capital Gold and is a very frequent contributor to the forums.
I've posted my own response suggesting Paul gets Mike or his agent to contact you via e-mail. Let's hope something comes of this!
Mike would be a very good addition to the next RSL. Even though he was a Caroline Jock, he could do a special at least.
Keep up the excellent work, Des Ainsworth
Steve Young's response to the above news:
Thanks for your continuing sleuthing efforts, I'm sure that Mike A. is hiding out somewhere but will emerge as large as life before too long.
Following the appearance on the site of the above correspondence, (scroll up to see it), I was told that Paul Rusling might know of Mike Ahern's whereabouts. Paul very kindly gave me the phone number of Mike's agent, Ingrid Hooper, and Ingrid was only too happy to pass on the message that Steve was trying to get in touch. In fact, Mike rang Steve that very evening, prompting him to send me the following knee-mail:
I can't express enough appreciation for your kindness in hunting down Mike Ahern and asking him to call me. I spoke to Mike this morning and I'm happy to report that he is doing just fine! We had a chance to catch up on a lot of things and he's made a commitment to stay in touch. If time permits he's hoping to pop over here for a visit.
Mike did say that he is absolutely 'blown away' by the fact that so many people have taken such an interest in his well-being and he asked me to say thanks to everyone who has been looking for him this last couple of years. He also asked me to say thanks to you, Mary, and that he would be giving you a call soon. So.... all's well that ends well (or is it just the beginning of another fascinating story?) so it seems.
Thanks again Mary, you're a saint for going to all that work so that us two old pirate mateys could reconnect once again!
Sincerely, Steve Young
Later in the day, I received a phone call from Mike, offering his own thanks for my efforts. Mike does not have Net access, so had not seen the site and was unaware of our search for him. Although keeping pretty busy workwise, Mike has kindly agreed to an interview for the site, which will be conducted at a later date.
A great photo of Steve Young sitting with Mike Ahern and the gang in the Mi Amigo galley, can be found here.
Meanwhile another success story emerged...
Radio Scotland's Tony Allan has now been supplied with a computer and has gone on-line, courtesy of a well-wisher. Jonathan from The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame, was kind enough to give us Tony's knee-mail address to pass on to Raoul Verolleman. To recap Raoul's story, he was aboard the mv Comet during the final weeks of Radio Scotland and shared a cabin with Tony. (See Radio Scotland section for photos and full details.) We have been trying for some time to put the two of them back in contact. A couple of hours after sending Tony's new knee-mail address to Raoul, we received the following success story:
This is just to let you know that I e-mailed Tony Allan just after I got your message, and he has already replied. I really am delighted and I'd like to thank you for helping me to get back in touch with him after 34 years.
In a message to Jonathan, Tony thanks him for passing
on numerous tapes of old radio recordings sent by friends, including Raoul,
Paul Graham and Tony Currie. These recordings served their intended purpose
of keeping Tony sane during his stay in hospital. Since the operation, he has
been undergoing further treatments, which he finds extremely debilitating. Tony
is, therefore, unlikely to be able to answer a lot of mail, although we will
pass on any messages we receive for him, which will surely be appreciated.
Tony's sense of humour, however, remains intact. He says:
"I am now at the age where Timothy Leary's slogan has to be updated to, 'Turn on. Tune in. Drop off!' The only good thing about all this is that I have been given a special diet sheet to make sure that I do not lose too much weight and the bloody fools have recommended that one of the best high-protein items, which is also very good for me, is Guinness. And they say the national health service is going down the drain. More advice like that and we'd have the healthiest nation on the planet!"
Hang in there, Tony!
Paul de Hann from the Netherlands has a new addition for the list.
Here's another missing jock: Simon Barrett. Known from his book 'SOS 10 days in the Life of a Lady' - dramatic events on board the Mi Amigo in November 1975, Simon was back on Caroline in 1984 presenting many hours of the Caroline Top 500 in the summer of 1984. I don't think Simon ever worked for ILR because of the fact that, in my opinion, he was a true Caroline maverick, so not adjustable to those awful ILR standards!