02/26/13 For 20 years Plymouth radio listeners were treated to a Friday night of high school sports on WTCA radio. Not just a typical high school radio broadcast either, but a broadcast that made you feel that you were right there next to two of your favorite pals. Rick Derf & Corky Lingle brought Plymouth sports to a different level each night their was football or basketball game to be played. For the folks who were not able to be at the game in person, felt as though they were right there.
Last week one of the dynamic duo left us. Corky Lingle passed away in the early hours last Thursday due to health related issues.
Longtime Pilot News Sportswriter, Harold Lowe had this to say about Lingle.
“In a time before video cameras were everywhere and a smartphone in everyone’s pocket, Corky and radio partner Rick Derf were celebrities. People in Marshall County were always aware when WTCA was there to cover their event. Their presence made the game a happening.”, said Lowe.
“Corky was quick to laugh, even on air, and people at home would laugh with him. Dignity and composure were quick to depart when Corky and Rick were on the air. They called it “Big Time Radio.” Listeners loved it and he became everybody’s buddy.”, said Lowe.
“He truly enjoyed the athletes, coaches and fans that he and Rick covered. And they enjoyed him. He was popular with returning athletes at the Art Thomas Big Red Open each summer at the Plymouth Country Club. Old stories were retold for the umpteenth time and people laughed just as hard as they did the first time they heard them.”, he added.
“He also loved having a good time, whether it was on the air, the softball diamond, the golf course or having a cold one with teammates and friends at the old Robin Hood. Yes, Corky loved being Corky and he was loved because he was.”, said Lowe.
Lingle’s partner for the 20+ years was Rick Derf. Derf was kind enough to offer his thoughts on his ‘ol buddy.
“Corky and I grew up in the First United Methodist Church in Plymouth. And, although he was 10 years older than me, our families had a lot of history and we knew each other for years. We played softball in the church softball league for the Methodist team and continued playing on a slow-pitch team together for years to come. And when it came to having an opportunity to do play-by-play on WTCA radio, I was asked to find someone to do the color commentary with me and I knew that Corky had a good knowledge of football and basketball and was lighthearted, so I asked him and he said yes. We began working together in 1967 broadcasting Rochester Zebra games by tape delay. We earned the nickname Big Time Radio honestly at the outset because we broadcast the first season on a broken scaffolding that was tied to a light pole near mid-field. It was particularly challenging when Friday night rains moved in and the Zebras were at home. We would drape a tarp over our heads and keep the recorder dry. We were off and running and BTR was born. In 1971 we moved up to work Plymouth football and basketball games together with live broadcasts. We had a shelter and everything at the old Lincoln Field. A crows nest 30 feet off the ground.