Mike Ahern grew up in Indianapolis. In his youthful years he used to do play-by-play phantom baseball broadcasts. His local radio favorites were disc jockey Reid “Chuckles” Chapman and Luke Walton’s play-by-play description of Indianapolis Indians games. Both were on WISH Radio, the station that added more television to the Indianapolis market by 1954 and hired Mike much later.
During his freshman year at Notre Dame, on spring break, he was back in Indianapolis and dropped off tapes of student sportscasts to several radio stations. WIRE’s Program Director Donald Bruce was impressed and offered him summer employment. That summer Ahern substituted for disc jockeys, did some rip-and-read newscasts, and tackled anything else that was available for $40 a week. That took care of summers until he graduated and was offered a full-time job. Luckily for him he was teamed up with legendary personality Wally Nehrling and that’s when his writing skills began paying off. He authored brief essays for morning newscasts that caught the attention of Eugene Pulliam, owner of the station and of the Indianapolis Star and News. Pulliam invited him to be a columnist for the Sunday Star. Eventually, Indianapolis 500 race broadcast veteran Sid Collins issued another invitation—membership on the big race’s Speedway Radio Network that was heard throughout the United States and in many other countries as well. Ahern was just one year into his broadcast career when he was contacted by Collins. He had been doing high school basketball play-by-play for WIRE, and that’s when Collins decided Mike would be a good fit for his 500 radio team. Another invitation came from Channel 8 News Director Bob Hoyt. Ahern was hired as co-anchor in 1967 and he remained an anchor until he retired in 2004.
He received the city’s highly regarded Caspar award for coverage of the 1978 blizzard that consumed sixty-seven hours of continuous weather coverage. Other Caspars were presented to him for hosting and producing a news magazine program, “30 Minutes.”