RetroRadio – Phil Cooke

RetroRadio is a series of posts of radio interviews from my time working at 98five Sonshine FM covering everything from issues of spirituality to chats with visiting musicians and celebrities.

Hopefully, the interviews spark a few memories and a few thoughts.

Back in July 2007, I spoke to Phil Cooke. I’ve just relistened to the interview and so much of what he has to say is still incredibly relevant today.

He’s produced TV and film programming in more than 60 countries around the world, and in the process, been shot at, survived two military coups, fallen out of a helicopter, and in Africa, been threatened with prison. And during that time – through his company Cooke Pictures in Burbank, California – he’s helped some of the largest Christian and nonprofit organizations in the world use the media to tell their story in a changing, disrupted culture.

Phil was Executive Producer of “Let Hope Rise – the Hillsong Movie” released to theaters nationwide, and Producer of “The Insanity of God” a feature documentary that premiered nationally as a Fathom Event. According to former CNN journalist Paula Zahn, Phil is rare – a working producer in Hollywood with a Ph.D. in Theology. He’s appeared on NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, Fox News, and his work has been profiled in the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal. –

We chatted about his work and the media in general as well as a range of other ways in which Christians are portrayed.

Phil had a lot of great insights into the most effective ways for Christians to harness the power of the media in its various forms. One thing that came out very strongly a number of times in our discussion was the need for people who want to share their faith story to understand the culture they’re trying to reach.

If you want to hear the interview just use the media player below.

[Note: All RetroRadio interviews on are a snapshot of the time they were recorded. We all grow and change and so the opinions and thoughts of those in the interviews at the time of recording may or may not necessarily be the same as they are today.]

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Do I Miss It?


There’s not usually a week that goes past without someone asking me if I miss it. It was such a big part of my life for so many years you can’t blame people for wondering.

I started working in radio on the 8th of May, 1988. That’s almost 27 years ago. It was my full time job for almost twenty of those years and something I did part time for most of the years in between. Towards the end of November 2013 I took the leap from working in radio to working for Compassion Australia as a Relationship Manager.

At the moment I’m on the Gold Coast where this week I’ll be representing Compassion the Christian Media Australia Connect 2015 Conference. I’ll be surrounded by radio people and others involved in media. No doubt some will ask me if I miss working in the industry.

Even after all these years, nothing beats the excitement of being live on air, knowing that anything could happen. Being able to communicate to thousands of people through such an ‘immediate’ medium is both challenging and rewarding. And let’s be honest, when it’s all working as it should, it’s a lot of fun. It can also be an opportunity to communicate important, even life changing truths.

Well maybe ‘almost nothing’ beats working in radio. When you have the chance to play a part in releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name and seeing that difference that can make, I can easily say I don’t miss radio. Yes, there are times that I hear of someone interesting heading to Perth there’s a moment where I wish I could interview them, but overall, what I’m doing now is what I want to keep doing for a long time.

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The World’s Most Awkward TV Interview


In my years of working in the media I had the opportunity to interview a very wide variety of people. From politicians to music legends and even a Tour de France winning cyclist, an absolute highlight for me, and while not every interview was brilliant, I’m thankful that I never had a moment like this one.

Ian “Molly” Meldrum’s interview with Prince Charles is legendary. I can’t watch it without cringing for Molly. It’s incredibly awkward but such great television. Great to see that after all these years Prince Charles has a wonderful sense of humour about it all.

This video is worth watching all the way through.

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58: The Film

I saw an amazing movie last week. I had the honour of being at a screening of 58: The Film.

It’s a powerful movie that challenges us to believe that we can end extreme poverty. Over the past few decades we’ve seen dramatic changes to the numbers of people touched by poverty but there’s still a massive job ahead of us. The startling thing is, we have all we need to end poverty. We simply need the will to do something. We need to start taking poverty personally.

58: The Film tells the inspiring true story of the global Church in action, from the slums of Kenya and the quarries of India to the streets of New York. It’s a journey that confronts the brutality of extreme poverty and introduces those who are already living out the true fast of Isaiah 58.

To: 58: The Film is confronting, inspiring and eye-opening—but 58: is so much more. It is our hope that everyone who sees the film will be moved to take action. There are some clear ways for you to get involved with Compassion and 58: partners Micah Challenge and Stop the Traffik.

By visiting the 58: The Film website you can find out how you can be part of a movement to see poverty end in our generation. It’s very easy to run your own screening of the movie which will help mobilise and equip people to do something about the injustices our world is facing.

Today on my Morning Cafe radio program I spoke to Matt Darvas of Compassion Australia about the film and the impact it can have as we play our part in bringing justice to more people around the world.

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke? —Isaiah 58:6

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Jason Upton Touring Australia

Jason Upton is a singer/songwriter. His songs and messages reflect a life fully lived in relationship with God, family and friends.

Jason lives in Wisconsin with his wife Rachel and their four children but he’s currently on the road visiting a number of communities around New Zealand, Australia and in coming days the UK. I recently spoke to Jason in an interview for 98five Sonshine FM.

Jason has an amazing story of meeting his biological mother around the age of thirty. It’s a remarkable and heart warming tale that’s well worth hearing.

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