Tuesday 1 October 2013

2Inspire Profile: Chantal Cooke, Co-Founder of Passion for the Planet Radio

In this inspirational interview we meet Chantal Cooke who co-founded her radio station over 10 years ago.

Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
My day is generally divided between creating content for the radio station (researching topics and interviewing experts, then editing and mixing those interviews) and promoting the radio station (giving talks, networking, social media, blogging et)

What made you start the business and how did you get started?
I have always loved radio and I’ve always been passionate about the planet so this is the perfect combination of my two loves. Radio is a very powerful medium, but having worked for many radio stations, as both a producer and / or presenter, I felt that most of them didn’t really use that power in an inspirational way. There seems to be a lot of blame, moaning and gossiping – none of which I find makes me feel good! So I wanted to create a radio station that was both entertaining AND inspirational. A radio station that intrigued and motivated people to live a full and ethical life.

 What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
Raising over £500,000 to launch PASSION for the PLANET radio – and launching it, on time, under budget (in 2002).

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
It has always been matching the ideas with the resources. There is so much we could do if we had the resources. But I guess most businesses have that challenge!

What are your future plans for the business?
To keep growing the listener base, to make sure we remain the leading station for health and environmental issues, to inspire more and more people every year.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
There are lots of things I have learnt in the last 10 years since we launched PASSION for the PLANET so it’s inevitable that I would do things differently if I did it all again. But, that said, I am comfortable with the decisions I made at the time with the information I had at the time. I think that’s very important.

Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
It’s important to inspire everyone to follow their dreams – but it’s also important to help them understand what’s achievable and realistic. I am a real believer in following your dreams – but I do not believe we have a right to live them. We need to earn them and be responsible for our own lives. Sometime that’s means compromising. Just because it’s a dream doesn’t mean the world owes you the right to follow that dream. You earn the right through hard work and commitment. Some dreams are achievable, some aren’t. Some dreams are responsible, some aren’t. If your dream means that others have to suffer or shoulder a burden so you can live it, then I certainly wouldn’t encourage that dream.
What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
You need to be really passionate and really committed. You need to understand the legislation and regulation surrounding the radio industry, and you need to be prepared to earn very little for a long while! 

What or who inspires you in business and why?
People who are living life to full, following their dreams and taking risks – these are the people that inspire me. I am lucky I meet quite a few of them in the course of my work at PASSION for the PLANET. When someone is passionate about what they are doing I can’t help being pulled into it and feeling inspired and energised. I believe that it doesn’t matter what “floats your boat” what’s important is that you float it with passion.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
My favourite quote and the one I try to live my life by is: The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to stand back and do nothing.

Chantal Cooke, co-founder PASSION for the PLANET radio, http://www.passionforfreshideas.com


Twitter @passionftplanet

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