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CitySacramento, California
BrandingKMAX 31
First air date
October 5, 1974
(49 years ago)
Former call signs
  • KRAK-TV (CP, 1968–1969)[1]
  • KRAQ (CP, 1969–1971)[1]
  • KMUV-TV (1971–1981)
  • KRBK-TV (1981–1995)
  • KPWB-TV (1995–1998)
Former channel number(s)
  • Analog: 31 (UHF, 1974–2009)
  • Digital: 21 (UHF, 2002–2020)
  • Independent (1974–1995)
  • The WB (1995–1998)
  • UPN (1998–2006)
  • The CW (2006–2023)
Call sign meaning
"Maximum Entertainment"
Technical information[2]
Licensing authority
Facility ID51499
ERP1,000 kW
HAAT591.1 m (1,939 ft)
Transmitter coordinates38°14′24″N 121°30′7″W / 38.24000°N 121.50194°W / 38.24000; -121.50194
Public license information

KMAX-TV (channel 31) is an independent television station in Sacramento, California, United States. It is owned by the CBS News and Stations group alongside Stockton-licensed KOVR (channel 13), the market's CBS owned-and-operated station. The two stations share studios on KOVR Drive in West Sacramento; KMAX-TV's transmitter is located in Walnut Grove, California.


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 that day under the callsign KRBK-TV (named for company founder Harold Koplar's son, Robert "Bob" Koplar),[1] formatted as an English-language general entertainment independent to compete directly with KTXL. Pappas Telecasting purchased the station in 1994 for $22 million.[3] On January 11, 1995, the station changed its call letters to KPWB-TV (for Pappas WB) to reflect its charter affiliation with The WB Television Network, which launched the 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 English-language station in Sacramento to be owned and operated by a major network (Univision station KUVS-DT became the first television station in the market overall to be owned and operated by the network a year prior, but broadcasts in Spanish). Viacom acquired CBS in 2000, 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. Six 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.[4] 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. When affiliated with the CW, the station aired the Saturday morning educational One Magnificent Morning lineup on a four-hour delay as it instead carried a full Saturday edition of Good Day, and now as an independent with programming purchased from syndication, that obligation is filled with programming early in the morning and an hour after Good Day.

CBS Corporation merged with Viacom for the second time on December 4, 2019, creating ViacomCBS (now known as Paramount Global).[5]

On October 3, 2022, Nexstar Media Group acquired majority ownership of The CW.[6] Under the agreement, CBS was given the right to pull its affiliations from KMAX and its seven other CW stations. On May 5, 2023, CBS announced that it would exercise that right, with KMAX-TV ceasing to air the network's programming at the end of August and reverting to an independent station;[7] the CW affiliation moved to KQCA.[8]

News operation[edit]

KMAX-TV's Julissa Ortiz setting up to report

KMAX-TV presently broadcasts 45+12 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 7+12 hours each weekday and four hours each on Saturdays and Sundays). Combined with sister station KOVR, it has the highest local newscast output among Sacramento's broadcast television stations, producing 84+12 hours of local newscasts. The station's morning newscast Good Day (which debuted in 1995 as The Morning Show, then later as Good Day Sacramento), 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 Prime News, then later 31 News. In its days as an independent, the newscast aired in the 9 p.m. hour, until the station affiliated with The WB in 1995, at which its newscast moved to 10 p.m. to accommodate The WB's prime time schedule from 8 to 10 pm, thereby putting it in direct competition with newscasts on KTXL, a KCRA-produced newscast on KQCA (at the time, under a local marketing agreement), and, later, KOVR (under different ownership at the time) when the station switched its affiliation from ABC to CBS in March 1995. In 1996, the station adopted the Action News format (the second station in the market to do so since KOVR in the 1970s), branding as 31 Action News, and also adding an 11:30 a.m. midday newscast. When channel 31 became a UPN owned-and-operated station in early 1998, it slightly changed its branding to UPN 31 Action News and moved its newscast back to 9 pm, while the station adopted an early prime schedule for UPN programming from 7 to 9 p.m. (a practice similar to now-sister station KOVR that continues to this day, but from 7 to 10 pm); however, the scheduling was short-lived, and the nightly newscast was cancelled later that year due to low ratings, ending evening newscasts altogether for the first time. The midday edition of UPN 31 Action News continued to air until 2000, when it was also cancelled, leaving Good Day as the 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 did hinder both stations at the time, KOVR and KMAX each produced a weekday morning news block from 5 to 7 am, though KMAX's morning newscast starts at 4:30 and ends at 11 a.m. (in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, KOVR dropped its own 5 to 7 a.m. newscast in favor of simulcasting Good Day). 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 viewer blog[9] that KOVR would begin producing a prime time 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 use 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 pm, becoming the station's first traditional evening newscast in over a decade since the 1998 cancellation of its earlier prime time newscast; unlike most CW affiliates, the program broadcasts in the traditional late evening news timeslot of 11 pm, due to KOVR's hour-long newscast at 10 pm. On March 14, 2016, KMAX-TV added a half-hour weeknight KOVR-produced newscast at 6:30 p.m. to compete with KCRA's long-established 6:30 p.m. newscast. These newscasts, along with Good Day, are translated into Spanish via the station's SAP audio feed. On July 30, 2018, the 11 p.m. newscast was relocated to KOVR, leaving its 6:30 p.m. newscast as the only evening newscast. On September 27, 2021, the 6:30 p.m. newscast was relocated to KOVR an hour earlier at 5:30 p.m. (as part of an hour-long 5 p.m. newscast), competing with KTXL and ending that station's status as the only local newscast in the 5:30 p.m. timeslot. The change marked the end of evening newscasts altogether on KMAX for the second time in the station's history and Good Day would become the station's only news program once again for almost two years.

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.

In 2022, along with KOVR, Good Day from 4:30 to 7 a.m. weekday mornings was rebranded as CBS 13 Mornings (in reference to the national CBS Mornings program), with Good Day continuing to maintain its morning news program from 7 to 11 a.m. seven days a week.

On September 1, 2023, coinciding its return as an independent station, KMAX brought back evening news to its programming by debuting an hour-long 8 pm. KOVR-produced newscast, Primetime Sacramento, on weeknights. It is the first regularly scheduled 8 p.m. newscast to air in the Sacramento television market. Other stations in the market had newscasts air occasionally at 8 pm, but it was only after broadcasting certain programming, such as sports-related programming. Currently, KMAX does not air evening newscasts on the weekends.

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

Technical information[edit]


The station's signal is multiplexed:

Subchannels of KMAX-TV[10]
Channel Res. Aspect Short name Programming
31.1 1080i 16:9 KMAX-DT Independent
31.2 480i NOSEY Nosey
31.3 QVC1 QVC
31.4 QVC2 QVC2
31.5 Movies Movies!
31.6 MeToons MeTV Toons
33.2 TLMD33 Telemundo (KCSO-LD)
  Simulcast of subchannels of another station

In April 2022, KMAX-TV picked up the widescreen standard-definition simulcast of Telemundo outlet KCSO-LD (channel 33) from Ion Television outlet KSPX-TV (channel 29, which dropped the simulcast in October 2021) on a new digital subchannel displayed as channel 33.2 to reach the entire Sacramento television market due to KCSO-LD's low-power status.

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

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.[11] The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 21,[12] using virtual channel 31.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "FCC History Cards for KMAX-TV".
  2. ^ "Facility Technical Data for KMAX-TV". Licensing and Management System. Federal Communications Commission.
  3. ^ "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. Vol. 124, no. 1. January 3, 1994. p. 48. Retrieved October 10, 2021 – via worldradiohistory.com.
  4. ^ UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
  5. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (December 4, 2019). "CBS and Viacom Complete Merger: 'It's Been a Long and Winding Road to Get Here'". Variety. Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  6. ^ Hayes, Dade (October 3, 2022). "New Day Dawns For Broadcast TV As Nexstar Closes Deal For Control Of The CW". Deadline. Archived from the original on October 14, 2022. Retrieved January 17, 2023.
  7. ^ "Eight CBS Stations To Ditch CW And Go Independent This Fall". Deadline. May 5, 2023. Retrieved May 5, 2023.
  8. ^ Lafayette, Jon (August 1, 2023). "Hearst's KQCA To Become The CW Affiliate in Sacramento". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved August 1, 2023.
  9. ^ viewer blog Archived January 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "RabbitEars.Info". rabbitears.info.
  11. ^ "Attachment I DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). FCC. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2013.
  12. ^ "CDBS Print".

External links[edit]