Julian Rogers, a Barbadian-born, preeminent Caribbean broadcaster and journalist, has paid tribute to Ken Richards, a fellow prominent Caribbean media practitioner, who died on Sunday at the Dominica China Friendship Hospital in his native Dominica. He was 73.
Rogers, who, last year, ended his tenure as managing director of the Jamaica Observer, remains in Jamaica, where he takes on media consulting projects.
In hearing the news of Richards’ death, Rogers told Caribbean Life Sunday night that he could not help but flash back to happier times with Richards.
“Today, we gather with heavy hearts to pay tribute to an extraordinary individual whose presence was remarkable,” said Rogers about Richards, who worked as a journalist and broadcaster in the Caribbean and the United Kingdom for over 30 years. “Ken Richards, a true titan of journalism, a gifted composer and a passionate musician, has left an indelible mark on our hearts and the realms of media and music. As we mourn his recent passing, let us celebrate this exceptional soul’s incredible life and enduring legacy.
“Ken Richards was a trailblazer, fearlessly traversing the worlds of journalism and music, and leaving an indelible impact in both arenas,” he added. “His unwavering commitment to reporting the news and current affairs of the Caribbean region was unparalleled.”
Rogers, a former program director at the defunct Radio Antilles in Montserrat, said that, through Richards’ work with esteemed organizations – such as the now-defunct Caribbean World Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Radio Antilles, the Observer in Antigua, and WINN FM in St. Kitts and Nevis – Richards became “a trusted voice, delivering accurate and insightful stories to audiences near and far.”
Returning to his homeland, Rogers said Richards, who began as a radio journalist at the Government Information Service in Roseau, “embraced the ever-evolving media landscape, with the enthusiasm of a visionary.
“His creation of OSAR, Old Street Audacity Radio, demonstrated his passion for sharing the news and his love for music, Caribbean history, entertainment, and comedy,” Rogers said. “With his tireless efforts, Ken bridged gaps and brought people together through the power of his words and melodies.”
Beyond his exceptional journalism career, Rogers said Richards possessed “a unique gift for music that resonated with the depths of the human soul.
“As a composer and musician, his creations reflected his love for Dominica, the Caribbean, and the stories within,” he said. “Through his soulful melodies and rhythms, Ken painted vivid pictures of his homeland, captivating the hearts of listeners and evoking a profound sense of connection.”
Rogers said one particular composition, “Pack Your Bags,” is “a testament to Ken’s musical prowess and unwavering spirit.
“Crafted as a poignant farewell song to mark the closure of the BBC Caribbean Service, it encapsulated his ability to blend his passions and convey emotions with unmatched authenticity,” Rogers said. “Through this piece and countless others, Ken Richards showcased the transcendent power of music to tell stories, spark change and voice his unwavering beliefs.”
Rogers said Richards’ contributions extended far beyond his achievements, stating that he was “a guiding light for aspiring journalists and musicians alike.
“His wisdom, mentorship and unwavering commitment to truth and integrity nurtured a new generation of talent, shaping the future of journalism with his invaluable insights,” he said. “The mark he left on newsrooms and creative spaces will forever be cherished and remembered.
“Today, as we bid farewell to Ken Richards, let us carry his memory in our hearts as a reminder of the extraordinary heights that can be reached through dedication, passion and artistic expression,” Rogers added. “May his soul find eternal peace, knowing that his words, melodies, and unwavering commitment to truth and artistry will forever resonate within us. The echoes of Ken’s storytelling and the transformative power of his music will continue to inspire, uplift, and connect us all.
“In honor of Ken Richards, let us cherish the stories he told, the melodies he composed and the enduring impact he had on our lives,” Rogers continued. “His legacy will forever shine brightly, guiding us towards a future, where the power of journalism and the beauty of music intertwine to create a world filled with truth, empathy and boundless creativity. Rest in peace, dear Ken Richards. Your light will forever illuminate our paths.”