I have my pet expression for my role in Capitol Broadcasting, and that’s housemother. – Scottie Stephenson
Louise “Scottie” Stephenson came to work at WRAL-AM Radio in 1944 where she wrote ad copy, answered the phones, posted the daily casualty list during WWII, gathered birth announcements from the local hospital and became the “Lost & Found” lady on the air. When an accountant was needed, she balanced the books, when reports needed to be filed with the FCC, she studied requirements and submitted information with perfection.
She worked for CBC longer than any other employee, including its founder, A.J. Fletcher, logging in 58 years of active service that ended only with her death. Forty-nine of those years she sat on the CBC Board and served as Corporate Secretary. She served in that capacity for all 12 of CBC’s current subsidiaries and for a myriad of companies CBC acquired and sold over the years.
“I don’t know how we could have done what we have done without Scottie Stephenson,” said CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon.
Stephenson never went to college but was a veritable encyclopedia of knowledge. She mastered the difficult and overwhelmingly complex task of coordinating WRAL’s FCC documents. During the fight to get Raleigh’s first television license for WRAL, she sat through grueling questioning by hotshot DC lawyers and never flinched. She helped prepare 3,000 pages of paperwork for the 75-day hearing. In a world dominated by men, Stephenson stood firm as an equal member of that five-person team and came home victorious.
When WRAL-TV went on the air in 1956, Stephenson had created almost every position and worked in Traffic, Sales and Personnel. She was the first person on television payroll and temporarily served as administrative assistant to the President and FCC specialist until all positions could be filled. She was responsible for all FCC filings, a cumbersome task that included reams of paperwork and technical detail. Stephenson morphed into whatever was needed, learning an entire field of information at the drop of a hat.
Stephenson made an impact on the community as well, working as an advocate for the arts and the underprivileged. She spent 16 years on the board of the Tammy Lynn Center for profoundly and severely retarded children. She volunteered for the Raleigh Fine Arts Society and the North Carolina Symphony and chaired the Communications Committee of the Raleigh Junior Women’s Club for several years. She coordinated The Raleigh Golden Age Club’s annual Christmas luncheon for over four decades and saw that luncheon grow from 50 to over 1,500 people.
As Stephenson’s years at the company grew, CBC had to create gifts for her years of service at the annual long-term employees’ luncheon. She so far outranked others in longevity that the company presented her with several unique rewards, including a marked parking space by the door. After her death, Goodmon permanently affixed her parking sign at the company’s locations on Hillsborough Street and at the television station on Western Boulevard as a reminder of her legacy and contributions. He wanted future employees to ask, “Who is Scottie Stephenson?” and thus learn her story of determination, quality and excellence.