KPAX-TV is a television station in Missoula, Montana, broadcasting locally on channel 8 as an affiliate of CBS, with programming from The CW on digital suchannel 8.2. The station is owned by Evening Post Industries. The station is part of the Evening Post's Montana Television Network, a network of Montana CBS stations. The CW digital subchannel is known as Western Montana CW.
KPAX also operates a Class-A low-powered station in Kalispell, Montana, KAJJ-CD channel 39; known on-air as KAJ, the station broadcasts the same schedule as KPAX, but with local ads and news segments. KAJJ also has its own weeknight 5:30 and 10 p.m. newscasts with a separate anchor, which was introduced in 2010.
Channel 8 signed on for the first time in 1970 as a semi-satellite of KXLF-TV in Butte. The station was originally owned by Garryowen Corporation, controlled by Joe Sample, as part of the Montana Television Network. In 1977, KPAX opened a new studio on Regent Street in Missoula and severed the electronic umbilical cord with Butte.
For most of its existence, KPAX-TV has been a primary CBS affiliate. However, it shared ABC with KGVO-TV (channel 13, now KECI-TV) until 1976, when KPAX, along with KXLF-TV, upgraded ABC to a primary affiliation, relegating CBS to a secondary affiliation shared with KGVO. KPAX returned to CBS in 1984, and continued to air ABC in off-hours (shared with KECI) until KTMF (channel 23) signed on in 1991.
In 1984, Sample sold the MTN stations to SJL, Inc. for $20 million. SJL, in turn, sold KPAX-TV, KXLF-TV, and KRTV in Great Falls to Evening Post Publishing Company, through its Cordillera Communications subsidiary, for $24 million in 1986.
KAJJ was established in 1984 as K18AJ. Its original owner, Telecrafter Broadcasting Corporation (whose principals, Thomas A. Curtis and Daniel W. Coon, were stockholders in KOUS-TV in Billings and KYUS-TV in Miles City), sold K18AJ to Cordillera in 1988. It became KAJJ-CA in 2011, and KAJJ-CD in 2012.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|8.1||1080i||16:9||KPAX-DT||Main KPAX-TV programming / CBS|
|8.2||720p||KPAX-CW||Western Montana CW|
KPAX-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 7. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 8.
Notable former on-air staff
- Christine Clayburg - meteorologist