Sunderland pop star Frankie returns to his radio roots

ON THE DIAL: Frankie Francis poses in a Spark FM T-shirt to promote his new radio show.
ON THE DIAL: Frankie Francis poses in a Spark FM T-shirt to promote his new radio show.
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A POPSTAR is returning to his radio roots and drawing upon his musical contacts to bring a new sound to Sunderland’s airwaves.

During his teenage years, Frankie Francis was a football commentator on Radio Sunderland for Hospitals before going on to launch a successful music career at the helm of indie pop band Frankie & the Heartstrings.

This week, the former Houghton Kepier pupil headed back behind the mic to launch a new weekly show on Spark FM. He promises to bring exclusive interviews and music to the community radio station as he explores the best new and alternative music, champions local bands and interviews special guests from the music industry.

“I am pleased to be joining Spark FM and presenting a brand new show which will not only showcase emerging talent from across the globe, but will also highlight the amazing music from right here in the North East community,” said Frankie.

“You can expect exclusive interviews and music that you will not hear anywhere else, it’s definitely a one of a kind, we are really aiming high.”

It’s the latest venture for the charismatic frontman who last year launched a record store, Pop Recs Ltd, in Fawcett Street, with his bandmates.

What started as a pop-up shop to promote their new album blossomed into a community hub for gigs, art exhibitions and even independent coffee.

In between gigging around the country, the band has ploughed its time into the store and their hard-working ethos has attracted big names including Edwyn Collins, Badly Drawn Boy and Franz Ferdinand, who’ve all taken to the Pop Recs stage.

It’s also seen them rack up awards including Association of Independent Music (AIM) Independent Music Awards for the most hardworking band and a Contribution to Culture gong at the Echo’s Wow 24/7 awards.

Spark, which is based at Sunderland University’s St Peter’s Campus, says signing the musician is a feather in the cap for the station which celebrates its five-year anniversary this month.

Alex Burgess, the local music coordinator at the radio station, said: “It’s great to have one of the most respected local musicians joining us.

“He’ll bring his own audience, which we’re all excited about.”

The multi-award winning radio station broadcasts to 15 to 25-year-olds in Sunderland as well as the wider community. It is also available online via the website.

l Catch Frankie and his Pop Recs radio show on 107 Spark FM every Tuesday from 7pm-9pm.