KMAX-TV, virtual channel 31 (UHF digital channel 21), is a CW owned-and-operated television station located in Sacramento, California, United States. The station is owned by the CBS Television Stations subsidiary of CBS Corporation, as part of a duopoly with CBS owned-and-operated station KOVR (channel 13). The two stations share studio facilities located on KOVR Drive in West Sacramento, KMAX's transmitter is located in Locke.
The station first signed on the air on October 5, 1974 as KMUV-TV, operating as an independent station. It originally operated from studio facilities located on Media Place in Sacramento. The station was originally owned by Sid Grayson and had carried an all-movie format to counter-program against the area's other established stations, particularly then-independent KTXL (channel 40, now a Fox affiliate). However on May 1, 1976, KMUV abandoned its all-movie format and largely began to air Spanish-language programming, along with some English-language religious programs (such as The PTL Club). On April 2, 1981, Koplar Broadcasting (then-owner and founder of St. Louis' KPLR-TV) purchased channel 31 and relaunched it on April 6 of that year under the callsign KRBK-TV (the callsign was named for company founder Harold Koplar's son, Robert "Bob" Koplar), formatted as an English-language general entertainment independent to compete directly with KTXL.
Pappas Telecasting purchased the station in 1994. On January 11, 1995, the station changed its call letters to KPWB-TV (for Pappas WB) to reflect its affiliation with The WB Television Network, which launched that same day. Paramount Stations Group bought the station in March 1998, thus resulting in an affiliation swap with KQCA (channel 58) on January 5 of that year, that saw the UPN affiliation move to channel 31, which assumed the present call letters KMAX-TV, while The WB affiliation moved to KQCA. With Paramount's ownership stake in UPN, KMAX became the first station in Sacramento to be owned and operated by a major network. Viacom acquired CBS in 1999, merging Paramount Stations Group with CBS' owned-and-operated stations to form the Viacom Television Stations Group.
Channel 31 was the flagship television home of the NBA's Sacramento Kings from the 1988-89 season until the middle of the 2002-03 season, when the team's owners, the Maloof family, terminated the station's contract due to the Kings forming their own sales and marketing departments and taking the ad sales "in house". KMAX remains the local over-the-air affiliate of the San Francisco Giants Major League Baseball franchise. It also held local broadcast rights to the Oakland Athletics before that team moved all its telecasts to regional sports network Comcast SportsNet California in 2009.
In May 2005, Viacom purchased KOVR from the Sinclair Broadcast Group, creating a duopoly with KMAX; KMAX's operations were also relocated to KOVR's studios in West Sacramento. Seven months later, Viacom divested itself of CBS due to the company's split into two separate entities (one of which retained the Viacom name), KOVR and KMAX, along with the other CBS and UPN stations operated by Viacom, became part of the newly formed CBS Corporation.
On January 24, 2006, CBS Corporation and Time Warner's Warner Bros. Entertainment (the division that operated The WB) announced that they would dissolve UPN and The WB, and move some of their programming to a newly created network, The CW. KMAX, as a CBS-owned UPN station, was tapped to become the market's affiliate of the new network through an 11-station affiliation deal, and became a charter affiliate of The CW on September 18, 2006. The station changed its on-air branding from "UPN 31" to "CW31" one month before The CW's September 18 launch to reflect this. As the Sacramento affiliate of The CW, KMAX-TV airs the Saturday morning educational One Magnificent Morning lineup on a four-hour delay, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., due to the Saturday edition of Good Day.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|31.1||1080i||16:9||KMAX-DT||Main KMAX-TV programming / The CW|
KMAX-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 31, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 21, using PSIP to display KMAX-TV's virtual channel as 31 on digital television receivers.
KMAX-TV presently broadcasts 40½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with six and a half hours on weekdays and four hours each on Saturdays and Sundays); the station does not broadcast any local newscasts on weekend evenings. KMAX is also one of only four CW affiliates that produce a local newscast on weekend mornings, alongside WPIX/New York City, KTLA/Los Angeles, and XETV-TDT/Tijuana-San Diego. The station's morning newscast Good Day (which debuted in 1995 as The Morning Show), consistently ranks as the Sacramento area's second highest-rated morning news program – among both local or network shows – behind Today on NBC affiliate KCRA-TV (channel 3). The station has also maintained a nightly newscast since the 1980s, titled 31 News (later 31 Action News and UPN 31 Action News); the program was canceled in 2000 due to low ratings, leaving Good Day as its only news program at the time.
After Viacom's acquisition of KOVR, KMAX's news department was merged with KOVR, with reporters appearing on both stations and the Good Day Sacramento set being relocated into the KOVR studio facility. While it does hinder both stations, KOVR and KMAX each produce a weekday morning news block from 5:00 to 7:00 a.m., though KMAX's morning newscast starts at 4:30 and ends at 10:00 a.m. The station expanded its news programming in 2003 with a non-traditional late evening newscast called Good Evening Sacramento, this program was cancelled the following year.
On January 11, 2008, KOVR/KMAX management announced on a that KOVR would begin producing a primetime newscast on KMAX-TV. However, owing to cutbacks ordered by CBS corporate management, plans for this broadcast were shelved in late summer 2008. On June 1, 2009, KMAX-TV began broadcasting Good Day Sacramento in high definition; footage shot in-studio is broadcast in high definition, while all news video from on-remote locations was initially broadcast in standard definition. Both KMAX-TV and KOVR currently utilize high-definition cameras for field reports, and most (if not all) vehicles transmit back high-definition video.
On June 4, 2012, KMAX-TV debuted a half-hour weeknight newscast produced by KOVR at 11 p.m., becoming the station's first traditional evening newscast in over a decade since the 2000 cancellation of its earlier primetime newscast; unlike most CW affiliates, the program broadcasts in the traditional late evening news timeslot of 11 p.m., due to KOVR's hour-long newscast at 10 p.m. On March 14, 2016, KMAX-TV added a half-hour weeknight newscast at 6:30 p.m. (also produced by KOVR) to compete with KCRA's long-established 6:30 p.m. newscast.
After sister station KOVR purchased the "CBS 13 Mobile Weather Lab" and "Mobile13" mobile news vehicles in 2014, the station acquired a "Rover" mobile news vehicle in 2015. The "Good Day Rover" and "Mobile13" use a roof mounted robotic camera, various interior cameras, microphones, and a "LIVEU" mobile video broadcast system to transmit live video via mobile broadband connections. "Good Day" uses the Rover in the early hours of the morning to cover traffic and spot news.
Notable current on–air staff
- Christina Janes - weeknights anchor
- Tina Machua - weekday morning news reporter; former KSFM 102.5 radio personality and current midday 105.1 KNCI radio personality
Notable former on–air staff
- Mark S. Allen (1996–2015 as weekday morning entertainment reporter; also host of Mark at the Movies)
- Christine Craft (1985–1990 as anchor; known for her lawsuit against previous employer Metromedia, now as a fill-in talk host on KGO-AM/San Francisco)
- Sharon Ito (1993–1996 as anchor; later at KXTV)
- Cristina Mendonsa (as news writer; now anchor at KXTV)
- Grant Napear (1987–1995 as sports anchor; now at KHTK and is also the play-by-play announcer for the Sacramento Kings)