WLAX signed on the air on November 10, 1986 with an analog signal on UHF channel 25. After a few months as Western Wisconsin's first general-entertainment independent station, it joined Fox. The station was originally owned by Family Group Broadcasting. However, since the outlet's transmitter was located in Minnesota, it provided an inadequate over-the-air signal to the northern part of the market (the same problem that long plagued ABC affiliate WXOW). As a result, viewers in Eau Claire could only watch the station on cable television. Family Group sold both WLAX and WGBA-TV in Green Bay to Aries Telecommunications in 1991.