J. Leslie Doss Jr., Oral History

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J. Leslie Doss Jr., Oral History


WMFO and the FCC


J. Leslie Doss Jr. speaks about the first radio station owned by his family.


Bob Friedman
J. Leslie Doss


November 9 - 10, 1993



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Bob Friedman


J. Leslie Doss Jr.


Ben Franklin’s got a picture of himself in front of the old transmitter.

LD – Had a little house…in a little house…in a little bitty white house. I know he threw the wire down when he wrapped the wire around the ground wire, dropped in down the underground stream…the FCC came in about 2 weeks, was howling, you know, flashing and everything.

BF – Is that right

LD – In the South all 1400, you know…that lasted maybe about 2 or 3 weeks. That had some power to it! We’d get cards from all over the world. Those ham operators. Had a hell of a signal. That lasted about 2 or 3 weeks.

BF – That’s a great story. I’m going to have to ‘raz’ Ben…I’m going to see Ben on Saturday.

LD – They named the station up here when they first started out WMFO, “We May Fizzle Out”

BF – “We May Fizzle Out”

LD – The history of that thing is my uncle went to California back in the depths of the depression and to work for Fairbanks Radio selling radios…Fairbanks Morris. And came home one Christmas and told Daddy thought make some money on the other end of it and…so uh…they got…scrapped some money together…got some folks…pulled some strings and got a permit and got it on air with a home made, a man named Jimmy Codle… homemade 100-watt transmitter to get on the air with

BF – Wow

LD – And then went up to 250 and then at that point, when they sold it to Mutual Savings

BF – Sold it to who?

LD – Mutual Savings Life Insurance. They changed it to WMSL. I guess it’s still on the air. I don’t whether it’s got the same call letters or not.

Original Format



2 min.




Bob Friedman and J. Leslie Doss, “J. Leslie Doss Jr., Oral History,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed January 19, 2018, http://thebbrm.org/document/41.

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