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Mike Ahern
Pirate Radio DJ


Mike Ahern
Mike Ahern
30 September 1942—5 October 2009

Presenter Mike Ahern dies at 67
Former Radio Caroline presenter Mike Ahern has died at the age of 67. Mike, who only last week celebrated his birthday, was also well known for his work on Radio 1 and Capital Gold. Most recently, at Easter this year, he was heard on Pirate BBC Essex. A posting on Facebook's Pirate BBC Essex page says: "A few weeks ago, Mike had a lung removed, after being diagnosed with lung cancer. It also transpired that he had a brain tumour as well, which was going to be operated on. Sadly, Mike died before this could happen."

Born in Liverpool, he was a barman and a clerk before getting his big break on Radio Caroline, at first joining the station's North ship off the Isle Of Man. He moved to Caroline's South ship in 1965 to help aid the network's flagging figures. He departed Caroline in 1967 for Radio One, though it was a short lived affair with Ahern departing for Australia to work for a slew of stations there including 4BC and 6PM. He returned to the UK in 1988 and worked for Essex Radio, Piccadilly Radio and Country-1035 among others.

Radio Today 5 October 2009

Mike Ahern
Tribute by Radio London
Tribute by Pirate Radio Hall of Fame

Death of pioneering Norfolk radio DJ
A pioneer of radio with an encyclopaedic musical knowledge, Mike Ahern has died at the age of 67. Known for his natural warmth and empathy whether he was on the big stage of Radio One, Radio Caroline or Capital Radio — or the smaller stage, which included a stint on the Stody Estate with North Norfolk Radio — Mr Ahern was regarded as a truly professional and likable broadcaster. He had lived in Holt for several years and died on October 5 in the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital after battling illness.

The days of the pirate Radio Caroline saw Mr Ahern work on both original ships, north and south, and in 2004 he told the EDP how his career started. Writing to station bosses from his home in Liverpool, explaining he wanted to become a disc jockey, then borrowing the train fare to get to a London audition, he was accepted and his career took off. "None of us had any idea the impact we were having. In fact, we couldn't even begin to imagine it," he said in the 2004 interview to mark the 40th anniversary of Radio Caroline. The Radio One spell was a short one, but as a leading broadcast talent and with a highly respected enthusiasm for the job, Mr Ahern found plenty of work through a long career. Several years in Australia saw him work on a number of stations, as well as having two children, Christopher and Matthew. Mr Ahern had recently become a grandfather. The links with Australia were still strong and recently Mr Ahern had been broadcasting for an Australian radio station as their UK correspondent.

The funeral will be held at St Faiths Crematorium at Horsham St Faith on October 21 at 11am.

Eastern Daily Press 14 October 2009

Mike Ahern interview
Interview with Mike Ahern

Mike Ahern
30 September 1942 — 5 October 2009
In the pirate radio days of the 1960s, Mike Ahern was among the UK's leading disc-jockeys, winning favour on both Radio Caroline North and South. But unlike many of the DJs, he did not make a successful transition to BBC Radio 1.

Mike Ahern was born in 1942 in the Liverpool suburb of Waterloo. He was at school with Kenny Everett and he was injured when Everett carelessly threw a brick over a wall and hit him. Ahern acted as compère for events at the Odeon Cinema's Saturday Club in Waterloo and then, in December 1963, he opened the Teenbeat club in a local dance studio. He booked Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, but the club was shut when residents complained of the noise. Ahern had a succession of day jobs, mostly working in a furniture store, but he preferred his evening work, when he would present shows at local venues for the promoter, Brian Kelly, and also, occasionally, he would work at the Cavern. In 1964, he applied to join the pirate ship Radio Caroline and told them in his CV that he was the best DJ in the world. His audacity won him an audition and then a regular spot on Radio Caroline North. He became very popular and was then moved to Radio Caroline South, where he took over from Keith Skues.

"Mike was a very good choice for the mid-morning show," Skues recalls. "He had excellent presentation and he knew how to pick records." Indeed: his signature tune was the highly distinctive "Buckeye" from Johnny and the Hurricanes. Ahern thought that the recent film, The Boat That Rocked, painted a blissful picture of life on board. They did not have a chef and Ahern was once dismissed, but soon reinstated, for making a bacon sandwich at 10pm. Sometimes, he would leave the boat by climbing down a 40ft rope ladder in a storm.

Coming on shore, Ahern was one of the first presenters of New Faces in 1966 and he was one of the initial DJs at the launch of Radio 1 in September 1967. He co-presented Top Gear with Pete Drummond, and although he performed competently, the BBC decided to stay with one presenter and he became the first Radio 1 DJ to be dismissed.

Ahern moved to Australia and worked successfully on radio stations in Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne. Returning to the UK in 1988, he worked for a number of BBC stations and also for Capital Gold. Earlier this year, he was featured in Johnnie Walker's Radio 2 programme, Pirate BBC Essex. Michael Ahern, disc jockey: born Liverpool 30 September 1942; married (divorced, two children); died Norwich 5 October 2009

The Independent 2 December 2009

Pirate Radio
Review of Pirate Radio AKA The Boat That Rocked


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