Jeff Styles has made a two decade-long career out of making people interested in what he has to say, and it was easy to see why at the weekly Pachyderm Club meeting.
The host of a popular radio show on 92.7 FM, the self-proclaimed “left-of-center” Styles had no problems with engaging with a more conservative audience. He even joked about how “there are probably people on the wrong side of some of my diatribes,” a quip which drew laughs from the audience.
Mr. Styles spoke at length about his role in the media, and gave an insider’s look into the talk radio industry. He stressed the importance of talking about things topical to the listener.
“We go on, 7:00 in the morning, and talk about whatever y’all are talking about,” said the speaker, “If we don’t, then we’ve missed our mark.”
He used the recent World Cup as an example. During a match against England, United States superstar Alex Morgan had pantomimed sipping tea when she scored against the British team, a move that sparked strong reactions from some viewers.
Mr. Styles discussed it like he would on his show, acting incredulous at the very thought that such a quick action would draw such outrage. The women’s national team has won the last two world cups, and is a dominant force in international play. Shouldn’t they be allowed to celebrate?
Or, as Mr. Styles put it, “Girls can have attitude, right guys?”
The radio host also spoke about challenging and changing ones’ beliefs when faced with new information. Even as someone who has strong political beliefs, such as himself, might change their minds if they hear differing opinions.
“If you think you know your opinions, then state them out in public,” said the speaker. He said that such a public declaration would attract people of all walks of life, and that one would have their opinion tested and dissected from multiple viewpoints.
When asked if he “put on an act” for the radio, he simply said “Pretty much what you hear is what I think.” However, Mr. Styles did admit he occasionally tries to play the devil's advocate, and that the phrase “some people think” Is a good indicator that he’s simply being a devil’s advocate.
Mr. Styles has a few things to say about the current political climate, though he did say there are topics he will not touch on the radio.
“Nothing I say on air can change someone’s opinion on abortion or gun control,” said the speaker, “and immigration may be joining that list.”
He finished by discussing the role of media in today’s world. Mr. Styles implored those listening to get their news from a large collection of sources, rather than just one particular viewpoint.
“American journalism is the best protection against what could happen,” said Mr. Styles, “This ‘fake news’ business is a travesty. I don’t think there is fake news. They’re just people trying to do the best they can.”
And while he joked the media’s place in the world has descended to the level of “used car salesmen and lawyers” in terms of credibility, Mr. Styles still said “I’ll take the media over anything an elected official says.”