On the air

—Submitted photo Tim Flattery (center) founder of the Moonlight graham show podcast sits with NBA player and Iowa Falls-Alden graduate Nick Collison and St. Edmond graduate Jack Brownlee.

It really should come as no surprise that something with the Flattery name attached to it has found success.

A staple in the St. Edmond sports community for years, brothers Tim, Andy and Neil Flattery are now reaching new heights in the podcast world.

“The Moonlight Graham Show” began this past December and has turned into three seasons and 34 episodes worth of laughs, stories and fun times with “underdogs and role players.”

“I travel for work a lot in the car and I listen to a lot of sports-talk radio,” Tim Flattery said. “Honestly, I was listening to ‘The Rich Eisen Show’ and thought about how horrible he was. I couldn’t listen to it anymore.

“We started talking and thought about how fun it would be to interview people that we knew, especially considering all the good stories out there. The idea really caught on because it would allow us to connect back with a lot of former teammates.”

Flattery quickly set up shop with close friend Nick Kirk, a former minor league baseball player, coming through.

“Tom (Griffin) came over as a co-host that night and we just had a blast,” he said. “We listened to it and thought it wasn’t too bad and sounded fun. We decided to put it out there because we really had nothing to lose.

“We thought if we had 100 people listen to it that would be great. Right now, we have 5,000 subscribers which we just can’t believe.”

Flattery feels that the show started to really grow legs after having former St. Edmond and University of Iowa basketball star Jack Brownlee appear.

“Jack was our first big episode,” Flattery said. “He’s a close friend and we just had a good repertoire and a lot of fun. He gave us credibility to get some of our other guests and I think that is where we thought, ‘Yeah, we can keep doing this.'”

That two-part series has led into interviews with the likes Nick Punto, Chuck Long, Chuck Hartlieb, Curtis Stinson, Adam Emmenecker and more local legends such as Wade Lookingbill, Lisa Uhl and Nik Moser.

“It’s funny how quickly it has grown because at first, we would have just taken anybody who wanted to come on,” Flattery admitted. “Five months ago, we would have taken anybody. Now, we are actually a little more selective.

“People gave us a hard time at first because of all the Fort Dodge connections but that was our target audience. Now, we are trying to tell legit underdog stories, not just something that fits.”

Telling a different story

From both a personal and business perspective, landing Collison was the top of the mountain to date for the crew.

Born in Fort Dodge, Collison left for Iowa Falls before embarking on a standout career at the University of Kansas. He has played for the Seattle SuperSonics and Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA since 2003 when he was selected in the first round.

“Nick was the most fun we have had with a guest on the show,” Flattery said. “He’s also the biggest as far as name recognition goes.

“He actually told us after the interview that he had a lot of fun with it and would do it again in a second. He said he was nervous we were going to ask him only questions about (Kevin) Durant and (Russell) Westbrook, but that isn’t what we are about.

“The truth of it is you can go to ESPN to read that stuff. We don’t care about that. For us, it is about showing that these are the same kind of people they were 20 years ago when you first met them.”

Flattery added that he feels the stories told “resonate with listeners because they are from Iowa, just the same as these guys.”

“With Nick, he is no different now than he was 15 years ago,” Flattery said. “They read the same funny stories that we do and that’s the cool part of sports. It is what brings people together.”

As for a wishlist, that includes former University of Iowa Hawkeye and ex-NFL all-pro tight end Dallas Clark, who played for Twin River Valley. He spent 11 years in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Baltimore Ravens, including winning a Super Bowl in 2007.

“Dallas would just be a perfect fit for us,” Flattery said. “He comes from the neck of the woods we are from and is a great underdog story. He has national name and I think people would really like to listen to him.”

Flattery also mentioned former MLB player Larry Biittner, who hails from Pocahontas. Biittner played for five teams, including the Chicago Cubs, from 1970-1983, hitting .273 and driving in 354 runs.

“We’ve had a lot of people mention Larry as a great candidate,” Flattery said. “I think he would be interesting to have come in and talk about his career and playing days.

“We always have our feelers out there for topics and guests.”

The connection with Moonlight Graham

In the blockbuster film “Field of Dreams,” the character of Moonlight Graham became one of the more memorable. Both Burt Lancaster and Frank Whaley played the role during the Kevin Costner movie that took over Dyersville.

Originally, Flattery had a different name for the podcast.

“Our first working title was ‘Not Your Hall of Fame Podcast’ with it featuring guys that had no chance of ever being in the hall of fame,” he said. “But we thought athletes might be offended by that.

“Andy came up with the Moonlight Graham name and it just fit perfectly.”

How perfect? Andy was actually born in Dyersville.

“Around the time the movie was filmed, our parents (Dave and Debbie) lived in Dyersville,” Flattery said. “Dad knew a lot of the ghost players from the movie and actually played with them. Along with Dan (Flattery), the two traveled the world doing clinics and playing on military basses.

“With that tie to the film, it really fit with our family and Andy in particular. It was just a perfect story.”

The show even had Adam Greenberg, a former Chicago Cub who is described as the “Modern Day” Moonlight Graham on for an interview.

Graham himself was from North Carolina and died in Minnesota in 1965. He made his one pro stint with the New York Giants on June 29, 1905.

The crew and the future

Along with his brothers, Griffin and Brownlee are also regular co-hosts to the show. Brian Sandvig, another St. Edmond grad, handles the post-recording production and music.

Fellow ex-Gaels Brendan Gargano and Dan Bradley have pitched in. Gargano designs the logos and created the recently-released “Seneca Was In” t-shirt featuring former Iowa State star Seneca Wallace, who was a guest on the program.

Bradley, meanwhile, prints out the shirts from his Dallas-based store, “Bullzerk.”

A special “Floyd of Rosedale” shirt is also being planned for release ahead of that podcast coming out.

“All of these guys contribute in a way that I can’t for the show,” Flattery said. “They are all valuable pieces to what we are doing with the program.”

In the coming weeks, the show plans to release interviews with Paul Shirley, Bobby Hanson, A.J. Pierzynski, Nate Kaeding and a special edition around the Floyd of Rosedale trophy prior to the Iowa-Minnesota football game.

“I’m really excited about having Nate and A.J. on,” Flattery said. “The Floyd of Rosedale is such a great story that not many people know about, and both Paul and Bobby were great guests with incredible stories that people are going to love hearing.”

The podcast can be found on MoonlightGrahamShow.com.