In a society that encourages co-parenting, working fathers don’t get much media. So three fathers at KFAN radio decided to tell their stories, launching The FAN Dads Podcast in late 2018. “We don’t hear a lot about dads sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly of being a father and living a busy life,” says Eric Nordquist, the 34-year-old producer of Paul Allen’s 9 a.m. to noon show.
Nordquist, Justin Gaard, and A.J. Mansour are all in their 30s, and among them they have seven children ages 5 and younger. They work full time, often at odd hours because they cover sports events. “We need to vent about it,” Nordquist says, and the feedback they’ve received indicates that other fathers get a good laugh listening to it and feel less isolated.
Gaard, who produces Dan Barreiro’s afternoon drive show, and has children ages 5, 3, and 1, says they’ve just gone through a six-week wave of colds, ear infections, and viruses. While sitting in a doctor’s office, Gaard says, his wife realized that this anecdote would end up on the podcast. “She knows that our life will be on full display,” says Gaard, who also hosts a weekend show on KFAN. “She listens every week.”
Mansour says many people are focused on creating perfect images on social media; their “houses are always clean, and their kids are always wearing clean clothes.” People won’t hear about domestic tranquility on FAN Dads because “real life isn’t like that.”
Nordquist quips that the podcast is documenting the “horror shows and triumphs” of parenting. His 4-year-old twin daughter Ava recently was bitten by an ostrich, which he says sent her into a “full nuclear meltdown.” But, he adds, “Ten minutes later she wanted to see some pumpkins.”
It was a Target store where the other twin, Stella, got in trouble. “Talking loudly in the bread aisle, she commented on a woman’s weight,” he says. “The woman didn’t like it, and I was mortified.”
The three men aren’t offering parenting tips, though. Instead, they share anecdotes and commiserate, which functions as group therapy. “Finding that relatability and humor is what I like in podcasts,” says Mansour, an on-air contributor and KFAN’s digital director.
The trio records the 30-minute podcast weekly, sometimes with guest hosts. The podcast is available on iHeart, iTunes, and other podcast platforms. While they don’t have a local sponsor, Mansour says, “it is sold as part of our national network with other podcasts.” Ads can be geo-targeted to Twin Cities listeners.