A white 8 in a red square to the left, with two lines of black lettering: the top line has "KPAX" in a large, bolded serif, and the bottom line has "MISSOULA & WESTERN MONTANA" in a smaller, thin serif.
BrandingKPAX 8, MTN News
NetworkMontana Television Network
First air date
May 9, 1970
(54 years ago)
Former channel number(s)
Analog: 8 (VHF, 1970–2009)
  • KXLF-TV semi-satellite (1970–1977)
  • CBS (primary 1970–1976, secondary 1976−1984)
  • ABC (secondary 1970–1976 and 1984–1990, primary 1976–1984)
  • The CW (DT2, 2006–2023)
Technical information[3]
Licensing authority
Facility ID35455
ERP22.5 kW
HAAT653.5 m (2,144 ft)
Transmitter coordinates47°1′2.1″N 114°0′50.5″W / 47.017250°N 114.014028°W / 47.017250; -114.014028
Translator(s)see § Translators
Public license information
BrandingKAJ 18
First air date
July 10, 1985 (38 years ago) (1985-07-10)
Former call signs
  • K18AJ (1985–2011)
  • KAJJ-CA (2011–2012)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog: 18 (UHF, 1985–2012)
Technical information[4]
Facility ID35453
ERP9.55 kW
HAAT805 m (2,641 ft)
Transmitter coordinates48°8′48″N 114°21′58″W / 48.14667°N 114.36611°W / 48.14667; -114.36611 (KAJJ-CD)
Public license information

KPAX-TV (channel 8) is a television station in Missoula, Montana, United States, affiliated with CBS. Owned by the E. W. Scripps Company, it is part of the Montana Television Network, a statewide network of CBS-affiliated stations. KPAX-TV's studios are located on West Central Avenue in Missoula, and its transmitter is located on TV Mountain north of the city.

KAJJ-CD (channel 18) in Kalispell operates as a low-power, Class A semi-satellite of KPAX-TV; known on-air as KAJ, it broadcasts the same schedule as KPAX, but with local commercials and news segments. To comply with the requirements of its Class A license, KAJJ also produces its own weeknight 5:30 and 10 p.m. newscasts with a separate anchor, which premiered in 2010.


The signal of KXLF-TV in Butte had been received in Missoula since 1958, when a separately-owned translator was set up in the Rattlesnake Valley.[5] KXLF-TV itself was approved to set up a translator in Missoula in December 1965, at the same time that KMSO-TV of Missoula was allowed to build a translator in Butte, which began broadcasting in February 1966.[6][7]

Joe Sample, owner of the Montana Television Network, applied to replace the KXLF-TV translator with a full-power satellite for Missoula on October 15, 1969, through subsidiary Garryowen Butte TV. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted the construction permit on December 23.[8] KPAX-TV went on the air in two phases: provisionally from a 20-foot (6.1 m) tower on May 9, 1970,[9] and from its full, 257,000-watt facility on June 5.[8]

In January 1977, Sample remodeled a former television and appliance store on Regent Street into a local studio for KPAX. This allowed the station to sever the electronic umbilical cord with KXLF and begin the production of local news and commercials in the city, becoming Missoula's second full-fledged station.[10][11] The year before, KXLF-KPAX had become a primary ABC affiliate, with CBS being shared with KGVO-TV/KTVM-TV in the Missoula and Butte areas.[12][13]

In 1984, Sample sold the MTN stations to SJL, Inc. for $20 million.[14] The network became exclusively affiliated with CBS that year; as a result, the airing of ABC programs in Missoula and Butte moved to the Eagle Communications network (KECI, KTVM, and KCFW), which signed an affiliation agreement with the network to air it alongside NBC.[15][16]

MTN was split two years later when the stations outside Billings, including KPAX-TV, were sold to Evening Post Publishing Company, through its Cordillera Communications subsidiary, for $24 million in 1986.[17][18] The hybrid local-state news format that had been used at MTN since 1971 was abolished, with each station beginning to produce full-length local newscasts.

While MTN was changing owners, a low-power TV station was going on the air at Kalispell. Owned by Thom Curtis and Daniel Coon of Billings, stockholders in KOUS-TV in Hardin,[19] K18AJ made its debut on July 10, 1985, and primarily aired programming from the Satellite Program Network.[20] It went silent in mid-1988 and was sold to KPAX-TV,[21] returning to the air in November as a translator with local commercials. In addition, a news reporter was stationed full-time in the Kalispell area;[22] separate evening newscasts have been produced since 2000 for Kalispell. The call sign was altered to KAJJ-CA in 2011 and KAJJ-CD in 2012.

KECI-TV with KCFW in Kalispell generally had the lead in local news in the Missoula market until KPAX-TV surpassed it in 1993, aided by the defection of anchor Jill Valley from KECI.[23] The station began producing a local morning newscast in 1996.[24]

Notable former on-air staff

Technical information


KPAX-TV's and KAJJ-CD's signals are multiplexed with the same subchannels:

Subchannels of KPAX-TV[25] and KAJJ-CD[26]
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
8.1 18.1 1080i 16:9 KPAX-DT KAJJ-CD CBS
8.2 18.2 720p KPAX-CW KAJJ-CW Independent "MTN"
8.3 18.3 480i GRIT-TV Grit
8.4 18.4 ION TV Ion Television
8.5 18.5 Court TV


In addition to KAJJ-CD, KPAX-TV has 23 other dependent translators in north-central and northern Montana.[27]

Analog-to-digital conversion

KPAX-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 8, on June 12, 2009, the official date on which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate.[28] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition VHF channel 7.[29] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 8.


  1. ^ "Channel Substitution/Community of License Change". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission. December 21, 2021. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  2. ^ "Report & Order" (PDF). Media Bureau, Federal Communications Commission. November 29, 2022. Retrieved January 12, 2023.
  3. ^ "Facility Technical Data for KPAX-TV". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  4. ^ "Facility Technical Data for KAJJ-CD". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  5. ^ "Notice to TV Viewers..." The Daily Missoulian. Missoula, Montana. October 2, 1958. p. 5. Retrieved June 10, 2022 – via
  6. ^ "New television translator at Butte okayed". Montana Standard-Post. December 3, 1965. p. 8. Archived from the original on October 30, 2021. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  7. ^ "Now a Maximum Power Translator Brings the Finest TV to Missoula: KXLF-TV Butte". The Missoulian. Missoula, Montana. February 20, 1966. p. 35. Retrieved June 10, 2022 – via
  8. ^ a b "FCC History Cards for KPAX-TV". Retrieved June 9, 2022 – via FCC Licensing and Management System.
  9. ^ "KPAX-TV goes on the ether". The Montana Standard. Butte, Montana. May 10, 1970. p. 19. Retrieved June 10, 2022 – via
  10. ^ "KPAX Plans Missoula Studio". The Missoulian. Missoula, Montana. January 8, 1977. p. 3-A. Retrieved June 10, 2022 – via
  11. ^ "Lights, Camera, Action". The Missoulian. Missoula, Montana. March 13, 1977. p. 43. Retrieved June 10, 2022 – via
  12. ^ "In Brief" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 7, 1976. p. 24. Retrieved October 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "KPAX, KXLF Are ABC Affiliates". The Missoulian. June 19, 1976. p. 2-A. Archived from the original on November 1, 2021. Retrieved November 1, 2021.
  14. ^ "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. January 16, 1984. p. 138. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  15. ^ Nell, William (June 15, 1984). "ABC deal could delay TV station in Bozeman". The Billings Gazette. pp. 1A, 14A. Archived from the original on November 2, 2021. Retrieved November 7, 2021.
  16. ^ "Butte to get full-time CBS". The Montana Standard. Associated Press. May 6, 1984. p. 26. Archived from the original on October 21, 2021. Retrieved October 21, 2021.
  17. ^ "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 29, 1986. p. 78. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  18. ^ "3 Montana TV stations to be sold". The Billings Gazette. September 20, 1986. p. 7-A. Archived from the original on October 21, 2021. Retrieved October 21, 2021.
  19. ^ "In re Applications … For Construction Permit for a New Television Station Billings, Montana". Federal Communications Commission. October 6, 1987. Retrieved October 4, 2015. Curtis and Coon each own a 50% in Telecrafter Broadcasting Corporation, licensee of LPTV station K18AJ, Kalispell, Montana.
  20. ^ "New low-power TV station on air". The Daily Inter Lake. Kalispell, Montana. July 16, 1985. p. 4 – via NewspaperArchive.
  21. ^ "New ownership". The Missoulian. Missoula, Montana. October 9, 1988. p. B-2. Retrieved June 10, 2022 – via
  22. ^ "KPAX satellite station to broadcast locally". The Missoulian. Missoula, Montana. November 13, 1988. p. C1. Retrieved June 10, 2022 – via
  23. ^ McInally, Mike (January 5, 1994). "KPAX ratings surge past KECI". The Missoulian. Missoula, Montana. p. D-2. Retrieved June 10, 2022 – via
  24. ^ "KPAX plans morning newscast". The Missoulian. Missoula, Montana. July 10, 1996. p. D1. Retrieved June 10, 2022 – via
  25. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for KPAX". RabbitEars.
  26. ^ "RabbitEars TV Query for KAJJ-CD". RabbitEars.
  27. ^ "List of TV Translator Input Channels". Federal Communications Commission. July 23, 2021. Archived from the original on December 9, 2021. Retrieved December 17, 2021.
  28. ^ Eggerton, John (June 29, 2009). "Boise Station Gets Power Boost". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved July 1, 2009.
  29. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2012.