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CLOSE-UP : Radio Free Hope

November 20, 1994|Maria C. Iacobo

Nobody was more tired of all the groaning, moaning L.A.-bashing than Fred Messick, a public information officer for the state Office of Emergency Services. Urban anxieties filled the headlines and stoked our fears, but he knew there were good people doing good things in the city. To Messick's mind, local news outlets were doing a lousy job of finding them.

"The media tells us about all of the problems: illiteracy, the crime rate, drugs. If all you did was read the local news," he says, "you'd want to move out of L.A."

So six months ago, he bought radio time a Glendale radio station, KKLA-FM (99.5) and began "Citihope," which shines a light on efforts of grass-roots nonprofit groups and the people behind them. Messick uses his money and some donations from friends to buy air time.

The hourlong show, which airs Saturday at 5, has profiled dozens of people. Among them was Bill Doulos, who runs two low-income housing programs that provide residents with such social services as child care and tutoring. Another is Chris Briggs, who directed a program from Azusa Pacific University with elementary and middle school students for one-on-one skill development, tutoring and mentoring. His appearance on the show prompted a call from a Diamond Bar man who wanted to start a similar project.

That's just the kind of response Messick ants. "There's a sense of hopelessness about L.A.I hope 'Citihope' replace that with a sense of optimism and confidence. We can then build on the knowledge that this city is filled with people who care and working to make a difference."

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