The fans' memorabilia

The Mike Ahern tapes

Back in the sixties Radio Caroline DJ Mike Ahern had a fan club, run by Margaret Littler. Now called Margaret Mytton, she recently contacted The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame.

Mike Ahern

Mike Ahern enjoying a cuppa in the Caroline South studio. Photo courtesy of Carl Thomson.

She had found some off-air recordings she had made of Mike's programmes, on both Radio Caroline North and South. As Mike sadly died in 2009, she wanted our help tracing his family so that these unique recordings could be passed on to them. With the assistance of Mike's former agent, Ingrid Hooper, we made contact with his sons Christopher and Matthew in Australia. They now have children of their own and were delighted that their kids would be able to hear their grandfather's shows. Margaret sent them digitised copies and, very kindly, sent them to us too.
What Mike's fan club members didn't know was that their club president was very young. In fact she was still at school. Margaret says: “As a 13 year old, some of the letters sent to Mike via his fan club were quite an eye-opener to a convent-educated but nevertheless very open-minded schoolgirl!” Mike's show started at 9am and, during term time, school prevented Margaret from listening. So she would set the tape recorder running, at a slow speed so it would keep going as long as possible, before leaving home. She says of the tapes: “Their quality might not be great because of their age and because they were used by an obsessive 12 or 13 year-old who had no eye on posterity. I was recording from a radio, probably using a microphone rather than cables.” She would listen back to the recordings each afternoon when she got home from school. As she re-used the same tapes repeatedly, only a few programmes have survived. They may not be fantastic audio quality but it is wonderful to hear them again.

click to hear audio Summer 1965, precise date unknown - probably June or July. This is the ‘tea break’ segment (10-10:15am) from one of Mike's Caroline North morning shows. Duration 7 minutes 16 seconds.

click to hear audio From later in the same show and the big news is that the studio is getting a new air conditioning unit. Duration 6 minutes 43 seconds.

click to hear audio By 25th August 1965 Mike's ‘tea break’ has become a ‘coffee break’. Duration 16 minutes 28 seconds.

click to hear audio It is 30th September 1965 and the seas are extremely rough. This clip is from the start of the show. Duration 11 minutes 12 seconds.

click to hear audio From later in the same show and, although there is a storm raging, the chef hasn't forgotten that 30th September is Mike's birthday. 23 today. Apologies for the interference at the start of the clip. Duration 11 minutes 49 seconds.

click to hear audio It is Sunday 28th August 1966 and Mike is now working on Radio Caroline South. He is scheduled to be hosting The Action Show, starting at 6pm, but, according to the deputising Keith Hampshire, Mike is busy “delivering a baby bird”. He makes it to the studio 27 minutes late. Mark Sloane is on the news. Duration 6 minutes 57 seconds.

click to hear audio It is a little bit later in the same show. We start with Mark Sloane's 6:30pm news round-up, complete with a Beatles update from their American tour. Mike plays Man of the Moment by Caroline House producer Freddie Ryder. He obviously hasn't been listening to the part of the show that Keith hosted because he spins the same Cliff Bennett track that Keefers has only just played! Duration 5 minutes 20 seconds.

Mike Ahern, Steve Young, Johnnie Walker

Left to right: Mike Ahern, Steve Young and Johnnie Walker on the Caroline South tender. Photo kindly provided by Sheridon Street.

With grateful thanks to Margaret for sharing the recordings and to Chris Stevenson for cleaning up and digitising them.
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