UTC Associate professor, Dr. Elizabeth Gailey, immortalizes the well-known Chattanooga radio talk host, Jeff Styles on camera.
By Beth Warren The Loop/UTC
Dr. Gailey took a sabbatical from teaching at UTC in Spring 2009 to explore a local paradox: a politically liberal radio personality in a very conservative area of the South.
Mr. Styles is the host of the weekday radio program “F.R.E.D. the Show,” which airs in Chattanooga on Talk 102.3 FM. According to Styles, F.R.E.D. stands for Free Radio Everyday.
Dr. Gailey says she was intrigued by Styles’ success, despite the local political demographic, and decided to probe further.
“As a media studies professor interested in the role of the mass media in participatory democracy and social change, I find the program intriguing,” Dr. Gailey said in a UTC interview. “Why and how is a liberal talk show able to succeed in a bastion of Republican conservatism?”
Dr. Gailey says undertaking the project was enjoyable and edifying. However, it has taken a lot of hard work, which she has yet to complete. The hiatus from teaching at UTC was different than she expected it to be.
“Creating reality out of nothing, which pretty much sums up film making, is more stressful than teaching,” Gailey said, “My original goal was to have the project finished by the end of this year, but at this point, it’s difficult to predict.”
Dr. Gailey says she was happy to return to teaching in August 2009 because she enjoys the company of her students, and is inspired by their ideas and energy.