For 12 years, Baltimoreans have looked at the NFL like a scorned lover, who swears never to give his heart to anything or anyone with the kind of intensity and that kind of passion, only to find when the intended returns, the love never went away.
Ravens executives are certainly betting that the thrill has returned, and so are a lot of area television and radio executives, based on the broadcast schedules they've cooked up for football-related programming this fall.
Virtually every television station and all of the radio outlets that offer sports programming have stuffed themselves to the gills with Ravens-related offerings in an attempt to take advantage of the biggest local sports addition since the Orioles landed here in 1954.
Let's start with the basics: Provided Memorial Stadium is sold out by 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon, each Ravens home game, including Sunday's clash with the Oakland Raiders, will be seen on Channel 11, because it is the NBC affiliate in Baltimore and NBC is the carrier of the AFC, the conference the Ravens are in.
The two exceptions are the Sept. 29 game against New Orleans and the Oct. 27 contest with St. Louis. Those games, should they sell out, would air on Channel 45, because the Saints and Rams are NFC teams, and by league rules, games between teams from the two conferences are telecast by the network of the road team, or in this case, Fox.
Of course, there is a slight price to be paid for having a team to call our own. On each Sunday that the Ravens are at home, viewers will only be able to see one other game, even if the Ravens don't sell out, so as to protect the Memorial Stadium gate.
That means, for instance, that on Oct. 27, Baltimore viewers almost certainly will not be able to see the Dallas Cowboys take on Miami as new Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson meets his former team for the first time.
Of course, Clevelanders will get three games each Sunday afternoon, and the Dallas-Miami contest, but they don't have their own team for two years, so you figure out who comes out ahead on that transaction.
Each Ravens road game, save for the Oct. 13 meeting with Indianapolis, will be seen on Channel 11. The Colts' game will appear on Channel 54, which won the bidding for the broadcast, which will be seen on TNT across the rest of the country.
Many Redskins games will continue to be seen here, and Washingtonians probably will get a good share of Ravens games, according to NFL broadcasting chief Val Pinchbeck Jr., who said the league will study the viewing patterns of the two cities this season, before making a binding policy for the future.
If the games themselves aren't enough, there will be plenty of related Ravens programming. The team's official coaches show, with coach Ted Marchibroda and Channel 45 news anchor Tony Harris, will air each Saturday at 6 p.m. on Channel 54, and the official pre-game show airs at 11: 30 a.m. each Sunday on Channel 45, hosted by Tom Davis.
Along with former Colts Ordell Braase and Art Donovan, Davis will host a fan's show that is taped each Monday at 5 p.m. at Michael's in Glen Burnie and airs three hours later on Home Team Sports.
The network pre-game shows undoubtedly will carry Ravens news as well. ESPN's effort expands this year to a unfathomable 90 minutes, under the new name "NFL Countdown," at 11: 30 a.m. NBC's show also expands, to an hour, starting at noon on Channel 11, with a locally-produced five-minute Ravens segment each week. The Fox show begins at noon (Channel 45) and CNN's "NFL Preview" starts at 11 a.m.
On the radio side, the games will be heard on both WLIF (101.9 FM) and WJFK (1300 AM). The stations will carry a pre-game show that starts two hours before the game and a two-hour postgame program, with related shows until 10 p.m. on WJFK, which also airs a three-hour talk show on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and a one-hour show Mondays at 7 p.m.
WBAL (1090 AM) will air a one-hour show each Sunday, starting most weeks at noon, except on weeks when the Orioles play in the early afternoon.
Finally, WWLG (1360 AM) will carry the Sunday night CBS Radio package each week, except for Oct. 13, and the first two Monday night games.
The last words
ESPN2's Saturday college football package will have a local flavor. WBAL's Pam Ward will be sideline reporter for the network's main game each week, beginning with tomorrow night's Louisville-Kentucky dust-up at 6: 30 p.m.
Josh Lewin and Ken Singleton will call tomorrow's Orioles-Seattle game for Fox (Channel 45, 4 p.m.), and tomorrow's Maryland football season opener against Northern Illinois will air immediately following the Orioles game on WBAL Radio.
Pub Date: 8/30/96