By Neto Baptiste
Iconic sports broadcaster and commentator Franklyn “King Frank-I” Francis is being remembered by peers as hardworking, dedicated and articulate.
The well-known former sports show host, commentator and administrator, who had been ailing for some time, passed away on Monday at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Center.
Veteran sportscaster and commentator Jack Matthew described Francis as committed and impactful, adding that the media icon played a major role in moulding him into a well-roundedr journalist and individual during the early stages of his career.
“He influenced, certainly, my career because when I started in the profession I was under the tutelage of King Frank-I at ZDK and he taught me a lot about the profession and especially the journalist aspect of it and so he was a great influence in terms of sports broadcasting in Antigua and Barbuda. What was very noticeable about King Frank-I was his durability because he would commentate for very long periods,” he said.
“He should be remembered as someone who not only committed himself to the task, but was also a very frank and straight forward individual. He was not afraid at all to tell you that you were wrong and he held his views very close to him,” Matthew added.
Francis, who coined the phrase “Jah guide, keep fit and be a good sport” on his popular Sports Line show on ZDK radio, was known for his blunt honesty and his ability to draw much needed attention to issues plaguing sports.
Former head of the Antigua and Barbuda Media Congress, sports journalist, commentator and broadcaster, Colin James, said Francis made a tremendous contribution to sports, sports journalism and sports administration.
“When Frank-I did his sports programme it was not just about giving the scores or the results but he was analytical and he was also able to make suggestions as to how sports administration could improve in Antigua and Barbuda, and although he would describe the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association as the cricket as-slow-ciation, it was just a dig at the administrators that they were maybe not doing enough to move sports forward, especially cricket,” James said.
“He would always pontificate about the whole question as to how sports administration could improve in Antigua and Barbuda. He also was very articulate in his commentary and although sometimes you would think that Frank-I was maybe not as vibrant or dynamic as the other voices, we all looked forward to hearing his insightful commentary,” he added.
King Frank-I was an elder in the Rastafarian community and was appointed Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to Ethiopia in 2014.