YOU DON'T HAVE TO hold tickets to Camden Yards or stand on the downtown parade route Sunday to see the pope in Baltimore. One of the better views of the papal visit promises to be in front of the television screen.
Starting at 1 p.m. today the Eternal Word Television Network (cable channel EWTN) will be offering continuous coverage of the pope in the open-camera style, which C-SPAN uses to cover political conferences and events. The religious programming channel, which will provide the pool video of such events as the papal Mass at Camden Yards, says it will offer live coverage of all the pope's public events today through his departure from BWI Sunday night, as well daily wrap-ups in English and Spanish.
Subscribers to United Artists in Baltimore and all Comcast subscribers in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia will be able to see the coverage on their cable systems. In Baltimore and Howard counties, Comcast will be making EWTN's coverage available on systems that do not normally carry the religious channel by pre-empting some of its normal programming through Sunday.
As for local broadcast stations, all four of Baltimore's network affiliates - WJZ (Channel 13), WBAL (Channel 11), WBFF (Channel 45) and WMAR (Channel 2) - will be offering special coverage on the pope starting today.
The four stations say they will have reporters and camera crews in the New York area through Saturday to cover the pope during regular newscasts. The coverage will peak on Sunday when the pope arrives in Baltimore, with local channels saying they will offer coverage of the pope throughout the day, as well as expanded late newscasts at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Sunday.
* WMAR says its coverage will start at 7 a.m. Sunday and continue until about 2:30 p.m. to the end of the downtown parade. Coverage will resume about 5:30 p.m., with the pope's next public appearance at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, and continue through the pope's departure from BWI about 8 p.m.
* WBAL will also start at 7 a.m. Sunday and continue through the downtown parade. It will then go to NBC's football game; papal coverage will resume when Pope John Paul arrives at BWI Airport for a departure ceremony.
* WJZ plans to launch its coverage at 7:30 p.m. Friday with a special titled "The Pope in Baltimore." On Saturday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., the station will televise a Boyz II Men concert at Pier Six in honor of the pope's arrival.
The station will start its live news coverage Sunday morning at 8 o'clock. Its anchors will be joined by the Rev. Dennis Diehl, who serves as host of "Real to Real," a weekly show sponsored by the Archdiocese of Baltimore, said news director Gail Bending.
The station says it will broadcast CBS' "60 Minutes" at 7 p.m. Sunday - the time of the pope's departure - cutting into the program with live reports.
* WBFF will offer live coverage from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m Sunday. Coverage will resume about 6:30 p.m. with the pope's departure. Coverage of the Washington Redskins-Philadelphia Eagles football game will start at noon, according to program director Jeff Rhodes.
* Maryland Public Television (MPT) will broadcast EWTN's
coverage of the papal Mass at Camden Yards at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. It will also "cybercast" the coverage to computer users via the Internet.
EWTN's cable coverage of the pope's day in Baltimore will be nonstop starting at 7:30 a.m. After the pope's departure about 8 p.m., EWTN will offer analysis of the visit for an hour. At 11:30 p.m., it will offer a half-hour Spanish-language summary. From midnight to 6 a.m. Monday, it will replay its Sunday coverage.
In Baltimore City, EWTN is seen on Channel 67. In Baltimore County (today through Sunday), it will be on Channel 43, pre-empting the Z-Music Channel. In Howard County (today through Sunday), it will be on Channel 39, pre-empting the Nostalgia Channel. In Harford County, EWTN is carried on Channel 48.