Fat Soul Radio
Sharing Music for a Better World
The International Association of Fat Soul Radio is an informal network of DJs and listeners who share music and discuss big ideas using music as a springboard for discussion. They enjoy mainstream and alternative music, but are especially interested in highlighting musicians who might not otherwise be heard on mainstream radio. Genres include rock, pop, indie, singer-songwriter, rhythm and blues, hip-hop, jazz, country, electronic dance music, and classical. The discussions occur through online forums, DJ blogs, and in local settings such as coffee shops, churches, restaurants, bars, and public libraries. The association has no membership registry or formal organization. There are no dues. All that is needed is a love of music, big ideas, and a desire for conversation.
What is a Soul?
"I am a philosopher, let me tell you a great secret of life—a soul is not a thing, it is not something which stands untouched by the events of your life. Your soul is the river of your life; it is the cumulative flow of your experience. But what do we experience? The world. Each other. So your soul is the cumulative flow of all of your relationships with everything and everyone around you. In a different image, we weave ourselves out of the threads of our relationships with everyone around us."
What is the larger context?
We live in the ending of an age. The age that ends may be just the modern period. But the ending of the modern period differs from the ending of previous periods, such as the classical or the medieval. The amazing achievements of modernity make it possible, even likely, that its end will also be the end of civilization, of many species, or even of the human species. At the same time, there are many new beginnings that give promise of an ecological civilization.
Who lends intellectual and spiritual support?
Pando Populus is a platform for people who care about big ideas and the Earth. Our aim is to create an ecological civilization. We’ve taken our name from the largest and oldest organism on the planet — a giant quaking aspen tree, spread over more than a hundred acres, thousands of years old, connected by a single root system. Various movements and organizations focus on one aspect or another of ecological concern. We endorse and celebrate their work.
Is there a spiritual side to it?
Yes, but only if that is important to you. Many in the Fat Soul movement think of music as an important way that the evolving mystery at the heart of the universe -- whom some address as God -- is present in life. This means that through music people can enjoy touches of transcendence, form their identities, enter into forms of community, understand what others are feeling, and dwell in respect and care for the community of life.
What is the role of colleges and universities?
Independent radio stations are especially good at hosting Fat Soul Radio. Occasionally professors will use materials from Fat Soul Radio programs in their classes, invite students to listen to Fat Soul radio programs, or give credit for being DJs who exemplify the Fat Soul spirit. The example of KHDX, an independent radio station at Hendrix College in Arkansas, offers an illustration of what independent, college radio can do. They have roughly 65 shows with 70 DJs, each of whom design their own shows. One of their primary aims is to profile artists who might not otherwise get airtime on commercial radio. That's the Fat Soul spirit.
KHDX at Hendrix College
Turning Listening into a Conversation
To me a natural way to be an active listener of music is our campus radio. Radio and more specifically, independent radio empowers listeners to do something passive -- listen to music -- in an active way. Cultivating playlists that speak to shared human experiences like heartbreak or offering commentary on the audio and lyric art turns listening into a conversation. Independent radio fosters community, discussion and opens listeners up to new music. The community that builds around independent radio supports listeners with content (both talk and music) and supports artists by connecting them to listeners. DJs on independent radio help foster an alternative to Big Radio. Without obligations to big record labels, independent radio can play artists that represent their community. A call-and-response relationship forms (not unlike the ones Pete Seeger tried to form) between artists and listeners. Artists create and release music and independent stations respond with air time, legal purchase of music and support of the live performance. Radio stations and their DJs have the ability to promote artists they believe deserve attention. And independent radio stations can give that attention and support to artists, on their own terms.
What is a Fat Soul?
"By S-I-Z-E I mean the stature of [your] soul, the range and depth of [your] love, [your] capacity for relationships. I mean the volume of life you can take into your being and still maintain your integrity and individuality, the intensity and variety of outlook you can entertain in the unity of your being without feeling defensive or insecure. I mean the strength of your spirit to encourage others to become freer in the development of their diversity and uniqueness. I mean the power to sustain more complex and enriching tensions. I mean the magnanimity of concern to provide conditions that enable others to increase in stature."
What are some of the important questions?
What would business and finance look like if the aim of creating a thriving ecosphere becomes the goal of the economy?
What do Fat Soul DJs do?
They play music, interview people, develop and share playlists, raise big questions, write a blog, and occasionally do public events. Their overall aim is (1) to avail people with multiple opportunities to enjoy music for listening pleasure, (2) to provide a context for the development of music communities, (3) to stimulate discussion, and (4) to help build what Martin Luther King Jr. called beloved communities. These are communities that are creative, compassionate, participatory, egalitarian, humane to animals, ecologically wise, multicultural, and spiritually satisfying -- with no one left behind. The best hope for the world -- what Pando Populus calls ecological civilization -- is tor the world to become a community of communities of communities, each with its distinctive flavor, each of which approximates the ideal of beloved community.
How do you sign up to be a Fat Soul DJ?
You don't. You just do your best to accomplish the aims above, prioritizing as you wish; network with others who are doing the same; and call yourself a Fat Soul DJ, if that seems right to you. Fat Soul DJs don't have to call themselves Fat Soul DJs in order to be Fat Soul DJs. It's the spirit that counts. The supporters of Pando Populus celebrate the endeavor and are developing a webpage to profile Fat Soul DJs within the United States and in other countries. If you think of yourself as a Fat Soul DJ, given the way it is described above, and you want to share what you do, send an email with an image and a one paragraph, creative description of your program to Jay McDaniel: firstname.lastname@example.org He will make sure it gets on the webpage. This will give you extra publicity.
Where can I go to learn more about Fat Soul Philosophy?
Pando Populus: Where Big Ideas Come to Earth
Video on KHDX at Hendrix College
"Hear Hendrix is a collection of original songs written and recorded by the students of Hendrix College. This collaborative project highlights the work of 10 young musicians, all with their own unique sound, that have joined to record one cohesive CD."