Ryan Fleming of Welland has always known he was meant to entertain.
That, and he’s always been a self-professed “geek.”
Combine those traits with theatre and arts performance training from Humber College, and you get RATG (Ryan All Things Geek), Fleming’s own brand of podcasts, live streams, movie reviews, pop-culture memes and general entertainment for geeks — straight out of the heart of Welland, Niagara.
Niagara Now sat down with Fleming Wednesday at Welland’s Black Sheep Lounge for a chat about what’s on the go and how it all got started.
Fleming said his venture into radio and podcasts began long before RATG, when he was about eight-years-old.
Back then, him and friend Steve Lambert would record on an old cassette player. The two are still production partners today, with Lambert, who uses the tagline Welland Wingnut, as RATG’s right-hand-man.
“I guess it was almost meant to be. We started off doing it as kids and now here we are, jeez, 30 plus years later?” said Fleming.
He and Lambert were some of the first in the Niagara region to start doing podcasts when the format started to really become popular around 2014.
Those podcasts eventually led to a call from staff at Brock University’s radio station 103.7 CFBU, who asked Fleming if he would be interested in hosting his own radio show.
From there, it all sort of took off, he said, with one thing leading to another and the odd “break” here and there.
One such break was being followed by Jerome K. Moore, a major artist in the world of DC Comics and one of the lead cartoonists for the show Young Justice.
“All these people from that world know him and follow almost everything he does, so he followed my page and then all these different people started following after him,” said Fleming.
“I give him a ton of credit for it.”
RATG’s Facebook currently has more than 6,000 followers.
Another break of sorts was when Lambert — who Fleming said is “very passionate” about Welland — got into a social media argument with former 97.7 radio host Kristy Knight, who often made fun of the city on her show.
“Like I said, he is called the Welland Wingnut for a reason,” Fleming joked.
“Long story short, all this happens, and she mentioned us I guess on the radio and everything, and we ended up getting 300 or 400 extra fans because of it.”
On RATG’s social media however, arguments aren’t something you’ll find too often.
Fleming’s following seems to be a genuinely friendly community for the most part.
A March Facebook post on the RATG page explains the feeling he has towards his fans.
“Not to sound too corny. But you fans on this page are the absolute greatest. The interaction on this page has become more of a familial thing. As opposed to the typical cold interaction with other page posting things. Fans comment and argue among themselves. Here we all seem to contribute to the conversations. And we, for the most part get along with each other. Even when we don’t agree with one another. I’m so proud of the quality of people on this page.”
Content-wise, Fleming targets a wide demographic, focusing on pop-culture and nostalgia throughout multiple generations, from classic shows to newer currently airing programs.
The father of three said having children was probably helpful in staying up-to-date content-wise.
“I’ve always kind of had an idea of what that generation was going through because my kids are 24, 17 and 14. You know, I’ve had those different eras.”
His children are named Jordan-Lynn, Logan and Phoenix — all from X-Men.
To Fleming, nothing could be cooler.
To his kids, it might be another story.
“It’s weird though, because no matter who you are, what parent you are — you could be the coolest person on the planet — to your kids you’re still lame.”
“I saw a picture of Dimebag Darrell, the heavy metal guy, and he’s on the red carpet with his family and he’s giving the rock of the devil salute or whatever, and his daughter is beside him like ‘oh my god Dad.’”
An example of the type of advice they give is when Fleming tried to branch RATG into Snapchat, his kids told him to stick to Facebook, which is “for old people.”
“I love my kids,” Fleming said.
“A lot of my fans keep me on point too though.”
Fleming said he thinks nostalgia plays a big factor in why RATG has taken off.
“Nostalgia just plays a huge part is pop culture right now. Especially if you look at Hollywood … ran by generation X … we were 90s kids, you know? We’re kinda running the show now, and that’s why you’re seeing 21 Jump Street reboots and everything else from the 90s.”
“I think that’s why, cause (the 90s generation) seems to pick up on all that. It seems almost like (that generation) looks at the 90s like we did at the 60s.”
During the conversation, Fleming couldn’t help referring to himself as a kid.
When asked if he thinks working with things he loved as a child keeps him young, he joked that it’s more likely his “good diet.”
“Starting to look more like Uncle Phil than Will Smith now,” he laughed.
The 42-year-old doesn’t look a day over 30.
Fleming said RATG will be making “big steps” in the near future to expand the brand, including promoting the brand at Niagara Falls Comic Con in June and expanding contributors.
Currently RATG TV films at the Geekery Pub in Niagara Falls.
Fleming said all in all, he’s just happy he gets to do something he enjoys, being sent new movies to review weekly.
Coming up Fleming will be reviewing a movie starring Danny Trejo.
RATG’s live stream can be caught every Saturday on Facebook.