Capitol Broadcasting's Fred Fletcher Dies at 89
Posted January 5, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST
RALEIGH — WRAL and Capitol Broadcasting Company have lost a member of the family. Fred Fletcher, the former president of our company, has died after a long illness.
Mr. Fletcherproved that success in life is not measured by what you accomplish for yourself. It is measured by what you accomplish for the people around you.
When you look at his lifetime of accomplishments, you will see how one person can have a positive influence on so many others.
Fred, the first son ofCapitol Broadcasting CompanyfounderA.J. Fletcher, was born in Apex on December 4, 1910. He grew up in Fuquay Springs and Raleigh.
College saw Fletcher at N.C. State, Wake Forest, George Williams College in Chicago and UNC-Chapel Hill.
In 1939, Fletcher began his broadcasting career as an announcer on WRAL-AM. His show "Tempis Fugit" was like nothing else on the air.
The fairy tales he told were unique, and still remembered.
"And on top of that he was a businessman. He did well and managed very successfully," says former WRAL broadcaster J.D. Lewis.
Fletcher continued on-air as his other responsibilities grew. He later held the titles of program director, general manager, and vice president.
He is described as a man who was willing to judge people on the content of their character.
"He loved everybody. As far as I know there's never been a color line with him at all. [He's] just crazy about people. He certainly liked Raleigh," says Capitol Broadcasting Company's Scottie Stephenson.
Fred Fletcher was instrumental in forming the Tobacco Radio Network to link North Carolina stations.
In 1946, Fletcher helped get the ball rolling on a new kind of radio -- FM -- back when there were not too many more FM radios than radio stations.
The television station came along in 1956. Fred Fletcher's name is the one on the bottom of the first advertising contract.
He served the station as general manager, and the company as president until 1975.
But his life was about so much more than what was broadcast over the air. Fletcher's public service spoke to his love of the people around him.
"His work in recreation, his work in the parks. You know, he has a city park named after him, and the recognition he's gotten for that is all well-deserved. So he's one of the most interesting people that I know. Multifaceted," says former WRAL-TV anchor and senior editor Charlie Gaddy.
Fred Fletcher served on the very first Raleigh City Council. He was the longtime chairman of the Raleigh Parks and Recreation Commission.
"You see, the thing about Fred is Fred is such a community-spirited person. And he's always been that -- even before he went into radio," says Paul Montgomery, better known to TV audiences as "Uncle Paul." "I believe Fred Fletcher and Raleigh are sort of synonymous."
The list of his awards bestowed on Fletcher could fill pages. Look between them, mortar between bricks, and you will see how one man's love for his community could make so many in the community better for it. Then, now, and tomorrow.
Mr. Fletcher leaves behind a wife, Marjorie, three children and seven grandchildren. He also leaves behind a family of employees, and a community which gained so much in having him.
Fred Fletcher was 89 years old. andDavid Foky