5 Things to Know About KFAN/iHeartMedia’s A.J. Mansour ‘07

Loyal KFAN FM’s listeners will know A.J. Mansour ’07 for his many appearances on the “The Power Trip” radio show and his many victories playing The Initials Game. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of Mansour’s career in radio and media at iHeartMedia.

By Jason Schoonover ’09, content specialist

March 23, 2023 | 9:15 a.m.

A.J. Mansour ’07

Since earning a B.A. in Business: Marketing at Bethel, A.J. Mansour ’07 has spent more than 15 years working at iHeartMedia/KFAN FM Radio.

A.J. Mansour ’07 remembers exactly where he was when his career in radio, podcasting, and media started with an unexpected opportunity. He had just sent out applications seeking a “really slick” internship position at a downtown Minneapolis advertising agency for an internship as part of his B.A. in Business: Marketing, but he wasn’t having any luck and didn’t have a plan B. He was listening to KFAN FM’s “The Common Man,” a sports radio program, when he heard an ad that KFAN FM was seeking interns. “The rest is history,” Mansour says. “Once I got my foot in the door, I fell for the industry quickly. It was fun, fast-paced, and filled with big personalities on and off the air that quickly became friends and locked me in.”

Since, Mansour has worked for more than 15 years at iHeartMedia, KFAN FM’s parent company. Here are five things to know about Mansour:

1. He has served in a variety of roles with iHeartMedia, working as a journalist, frequently making on-air appearances, and leading KFAN FM’s podcast efforts, among other duties.

After turning his internship into a full-time job, Mansour has served in many different roles. He started in advertising before switching to content production as a multimedia journalist. He covered Minnesota Vikings training camps, practices, and games, which led him to appear with Paul Allen—who calls play-by-play for the Vikings—on his morning radio show. “It was a gesture of good faith on his part that opened a door to a new world for me,” he says. Soon, Mansour was cohosting radio programs like "Saturday's With Sauce" and "Vikings Gameday Kickoff,” and he appeared regularly on “The Power Trip,” becoming the morning show’s unofficial fourth member. As taking on leadership with iHeartMedia, he helped expand the show’s brand and on-air content, helping them rise to #1 in the market. He’s scaled back his on-air appearances in recent years as he shifted to behind-the-scenes roles. He helped launch and lead KFAN’s podcast efforts, shaping and forming a streaming video network and shifting the focal points for social media toward video-based content.
A.J. Mansour ’07

A.J. Mansour ’07 poses with “The Power Trip” hosts Chris Hawkey, Cory Cove, and Paul Lambert. For many years, Mansour has been the unofficial fourth member of the morning show, but he’s taking a step back from on-air duties as he focuses on new duties as vice president of digital sales at iHeartMedia.

2. He inspired The Initials Game, a popular game played on “The Power Trip.”

In spring 2014, Mansour announced he was leaving iHeartMedia/KFAN to seek new opportunities—and a more stable schedule—as he and his wife Abby Mansour ’08 were about to have their first child. As a going away present, “The Power Trip” crew created and played the A.J. Game. But Mansour actually returned to KFAN a few weeks later, and the game—now dubbed The Initials Game—became a staple of the show. In the game, contestants start with the initials of the answer, which can be people, places, things, phrases, and more.

Though Paul “Meatsauce” Lambert established an early lead, Mansour became a frequent Initials Game winner. “I eventually caught up and passed him as the all-time win leader, but that feat would ultimately lead to my demise!” Mansour says. “In early 2022, after winning too often, I was pushed into a mandatory retirement from the game and now only appear for special events and major tournaments.”

The Initials Game is now available as a physical game to play at home or at gatherings with family and friends. And iHeartMedia has compiled a podcast archive of all 450-plus games.
A.J. Mansour ’07

A.J. Mansour ’07 is the inspiration for the Initials Game, which is played frequently on The Power Trip” morning show. The host reads clues as the players use the initials to guess the answers, which can be people, places, things, phrases, and more. For example, the initials CJ includes hints like “Is married to an Avenger” and “Weekend update anchor.” The answer: actor/comedian Colin Jost.

3. He’s taking on a new role as vice president of digital sales at iHeartMedia. 

Mansour is facing a new challenge. After years on the content and programming side of the business, he is moving back to advertising after becoming iHeartMedia’s vice president of digital sales. He admits that it’s the largest shift in his career. Now, he trains and assists the team on how to promote and sell the digital assets he once created. “It's a unique perspective for this position but one that I think will bring with it a wealth of knowledge and experience that will prove beneficial,” he says. “My typical days now are filled with training presentations, brainstorming conversations, and client meetings helping unlock the power and wealth of digital assets available from iHeartMedia.” 

4. Adaptability has been his key to success.

Mansour calls adaptability the most necessary attribute in the radio industry and the world today. On the digital side, things are changing rapidly, requiring him to be aware and willing enough to "about face" at any given moment and lead in a new direction. “This approach has led KFAN and our iHeartMedia Twin Cities brands to long-held success,” he says. While a key goal is to lead iHeartMedia’s shows to top rating spots, Mansour admits this journey has allowed him to witness the growth of a community of listeners, partners, and friends—which KFAN calls “Rube Nation”—that surrounds their shows and brands. “Seeing that community grow in numbers, strength, and passion is certainly one of those proud moments throughout my career,” he says.

5. Bethel helped prepare him for life and the business world.

Through attending and later working at youth sports camps hosted by Bethel, Mansour fell in love with the culture and campus. The experience inspired him to attend Bethel starting in 2004. “My experience at Bethel was very special to me,” he says. “It was a unique opportunity to grow as an adult in an environment that was encouraging and uplifting.” He enjoyed Bethel’s focus on personal faith and calls the Bethel community “exactly what I needed at that point in my life.” He grew his faith, formed lifelong friendships, and met his wife. The Bethel business department introduced him to the business world and helped him find his place within it. “More than any topic or lesson learned along the way, what stuck with me was professors like Bethany Opsata, MaryAnn Harris, and Tom Johnson showcasing what servant-leadership could look like in a business setting,” he says.

“My experience at Bethel was very special to me. It was a unique opportunity to grow as an adult in an environment that was encouraging and uplifting.”

— A.J. Mansour ’07

At work and with his family, Mansour strives to be more and more like Jesus in all walks of his life. “My time at Bethel prepared me for what it would look like to step out into the world and hold this value close while at the workplace, living out our lives in the neighborhood, and leading with grace in our family,” he says.

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