Local News

Women's History Month: Betty Roper


Born on Feb. 20, 1932 in Easley SC, Betty Eugena Taylor would become a very influential woman in Clarendon County under her married name, Betty Roper.

Roper grew up very poor and often told stories of her childhood home having dirt floors. In 1965, Betty married Jim Roper. Together the couple purchased WYMB-AM radio station in Clarendon County. Tragically, Jim Roper was killed in a house fire at the couple's home in 1968. Roper continued in the radio business' on her own, owning and operating five radio stations in Florence, Berkely, and Clarendon counties. Roper's biggest accomplishment was WHLZ, also known as Wheelz 92.5 at that time. WHLZ was a 100,000 watt radio station that she built from scratch. 

Roper was the first woman to head the South Carolina Broadcasters Association. Eventually Roper was also the first female inducted into the State Broadcasters Hall of Fame at USC's McKissick Museum. She was also presented South Carolina's highest honor, The Order of the Palmetto, by Governor Carroll Campbell.

As owner and president of Clarendon Broadcasting Inc, Roper brought cable television to Clarendon County in 1980 by building Clarendon Cablevision Inc. This made Clarendon one of few rural counties to have cable television at the time. 

Roper not only broke barriers as a woman in business, but she also made her mark in politics in 1988 by becoming the first female ever elected to an at-large chairmanship on the Clarendon County Council. This was a position she treasured and held for three consecutive four-year terms. During her time in politics she also became the first female president of the S.C. Association of Regional Council.

During her lifetime, Roper received many honors and awards, for both her political service and her business accomplishments. Roper broke many gender barriers and paved the way for many women in Clarendon County to become leaders in business and politics.

After her last term in council, she purchased and ran The Plantation restaurant in the Wyboo area of Lake Marion. Roper never remarried or had any children. At the time of her death in March of 2007, she was survived by her two sisters.


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