Hobart is mourning the loss of one of its media icons whose warm voice and familiar face filled TV screens and radio airwaves across Southern Tasmania for decades. Bob Cooke, 75, sadly passed away on Saturday after battling deteriorating health issues for the past few months. (Report courtesy of Mercury – Sam Flanagan)
Cooke rose to fame across Southern Tasmania after getting his shot as an on air host at 7HOFM in the late 1960s.
Good mate Richard Moore said Cooke got his start with the station after a sliding doors moment.
“He was working in the radio department at a big hardware shop in the city and one day the chief technician from 7HO came in and wanted to get something,” Moore said.
“He said there was a job going at the station, so Bob applied and got it. He started out as the panel operator and later got on air.”
Moore said he was at school when Cooke began hosting the night show and he immediately took a liking to the new host’s style.
“Even back then he used localisms. I used to listen to that and thought it didn’t sound too bad at all.”
Flash forward a few years and Moore found himself at 7HOFM alongside Cooke after also deciding to pursue a career in radio.
His decision gave birth to one of Hobart’s most iconic duos of all time.
“I was a bit awestruck by it all at our first meeting,” Moore said.
“We used to make each other laugh off air and on air at the end of his shift and the start of mine. That was the beginning of the genesis of Cooke & Moore.”
In the mid-70s the pair both moved to television and hosted live breakfast show Today on Channel 6.
“We learnt in television you can’t adlib,” Moore said.
“TV is not like radio, you need a lot of effort to put a 30 second gag on air because it’s not just audio. It really was a cruel mistress.”
By 1982 the dynamic duo were back at 7HO and launched Cooke & Moore, a show which entertained Southern Tasmanians for more than two decades.
Moore said the show was a hit because the chemistry between himself and Cooke was “organic”.
“It was us having fun and having a conversation that everyone else could join in on.
“We said ‘if we can make each other laugh that’s good, and if we can make everyone else laugh as well that’s a bonus’.”
Moore said he’d dearly miss his former idol who went on to become a close mate for more than 50 years.
“He was like a brother for me. That’s the respect we had for each other and the love we had for each other.
“I’ll miss his friendship and making him laugh and him making me laugh.
“It’s the end of an era, but we have the memories.
“He wasn’t just talented as a presenter, but also as a producer and comic.
“You’ll always be remembered if you make an impact on people and he certainly did.”
Cooke leaves behind his wife Julie and extended family and friends.
Moore will join 7HOFM’s Sarah, Mick & Jonno on Tuesday morning to celebrate his great mate’s career.