He was a top radio deejay, one of the most recognizable faces on Hawaii TV, headed a project to send business information to subscribers’ cell phones and had another stint on radio before settling into real estate.
Things sure have changed for Dan Cooke since he appeared on MidWeek’s cover in 1996. Though he is not looking back.
“I miss the people, but I don’t really miss the job hours,” Cooke says about his time as a newscaster. “It was very difficult for the family, keeping me away from my children. That was increasingly disturbing for me, realizing I was missing my kids growing up. My biggest motivator was having time with the kids.”
Newsfone, the financial information service he ran for a year after leaving KITV, did not catch on as was hoped, but he has no regrets.
“It was an exciting time for me,” he says.” It was difficult to leave something I had been doing for so long. But it was a lot of fun. It was an incredible learning experience and I learned a lot about the business and about myself.”
Now a full-time sales executive for Centex Destination Properties — which is constructing and selling townhouses and single family homes at Ko Olina — Cooke is getting that extra family time he had been wanting while trying to understand a complex business.
“The learning curve is steep, but I’m enjoying the challenge,” he says. “I think that at different points in life you have to step outside your comfort zone. For me, that’s what I have to do, to learn new things and to grow as a person.”
Cooke says Centex has future projects scheduled for the Big Island, but for the time being Ko Olina will keep him busy while former viewers wait for a comeback. After 15 years on television, it should come as no surprise that he continues to be asked about his possible return to the news business. The odds of that happening are not at all good.
“Television was wonderful to me,” he says. “But it was just time to move on. Some people have a hard time understanding. Success is not any one career or goal. It’s about career, family, spirituality.” Evidently fame is not in the mix even if the recognition comes with some benefits.
“The wonderful thing about being on TV in Hawaii is that you’re not treated as a star, you’re treated as a family member.”
Cooke may no longer be part of thousands of families, but he’s happy right where he is.
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