|Silver Spring, Maryland/Washington, D.C.
|City||Silver Spring, Maryland|
|Channels||Digital: 9 (VHF)
(shared with WUSA)
Virtual: 68 (PSIP)
|Owner||Entravision Communications Corporation
(Entravision Holdings, LLC)
|First air date||August 1, 1984
(in Hagerstown, Maryland; license moved to Silver Spring in 2017)
|Sister station(s)||WFDC-DT, WMDO-CD|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
68 (UHF, 1984–2009)
16 (UHF, 2005–2009)
39 (UHF, 2009–2017)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1984–1995, 1998–2017)
The WB (1995–1998)
|Transmitter power||52 kW|
|Height||235.6 m (773 ft)|
|Public license information:||Profile
WJAL is an LATV-affiliated television station licensed to Silver Spring, Maryland, United States and serving the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Owned by Entravision Communications, it is a sister station to Washington-licensed low-power, Class A UniMás affiliate WMDO-CD (channel 47); Entravision also operates Arlington, Virginia-licensed Univision-owned station WFDC-DT (channel 14) under a local marketing agreement with the Univision Local Media subsidiary of Univision Communications. WJAL holds a channel-sharing agreement with Tegna-owned CBS affiliate WUSA, under which it broadcasts on VHF digital channel 9 (remapped to former analog channel 68 via PSIP) from WUSA's transmitter on Wisconsin Avenue in the Tenleytown section of northwest Washington.
As a Hagerstown station
The station first broadcast on August 1, 1984, originally licensed to Hagerstown, Maryland as that city's third television station (after WHAG-TV and WWPB). It was also the fourth independent station in the Washington DMA (after WTTG, WDCA, and WCQR) and the first independent in the market outside the core city of Washington. Despite being licensed to Hagerstown (and assigned by Nielsen to the Washington television market), WJAL's offices were located in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania (within the Harrisburg market), and its transmitter was located 15 miles (24 km) west of Chambersburg, atop Tuscarora Mountain near the town of McConnellsburg. For a time in the late 1990s, WJAL became a WB affiliate.
In 2001, Good Companion Broadcasting, a Christian broadcasting nonprofit organization, sold WJAL-TV to Entravision for $10.3 million. The main impetus of the purchase of WJAL for Entravision has been to attempt to move the station's license to Silver Spring, Maryland and into the Washington, D.C. market as a replacement UniMás affiliate for the low-power WMDO-CD, efforts that until 2017 were unsuccessful; thus it ran a family-friendly English format for Hagerstown, a market with a traditionally low need for a Spanish-language outlet.
During the late hours of January 14, 2009, WJAL's transmitter building caught fire. An automated alarm had tripped at 5:45 p.m. that day, but upon visiting the building, firefighters found no sign of fire. 911 was called about an hour later to report the fire. The transmitter's location on top of Tuscarora Mountain and snow and ice that was occurring made it difficult for firefighters to reach the building. Chainsaws were needed to clear away fallen branches. Two firefighters from McConnellsburg suffered injuries when they slipped on a patch of ice. Both transmitter and building were completely destroyed. WJAL returned to the air, via fiber feed to cable companies, within a day of the fire.
Spectrum sale and channel-sharing agreement; move to Washington
In the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s incentive auction, WJAL sold its spectrum for $25,492,333 and indicated that it would enter into a post-auction channel sharing agreement. On July 28, 2017, WJAL submitted a channel-sharing agreement with WUSA (channel 9). WJAL retained its existing callsign and virtual channel number, but moved its city of license to Silver Spring, Maryland. The over-the-air signal from Tuscarora Mountain went dark at midnight on September 30, 2017, and the station immediately moved to WUSA's transmitter in the early morning of October 1.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|68.1||480i||4:3||LATV||Main WJAL programming|
WJAL shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 68, on February 17, 2009, the original target date in which full-power television stations in the United States were to transition from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate (which was later pushed back to June 12, 2009). The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 39. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former UHF analog channel 68, which was among the high band UHF channels (52-69) that were removed from broadcasting use as a result of the transition.
Until its move to Washington, WJAL aired a mix of religious programming (especially on Sunday), public affairs programming, syndicated shows, sitcom reruns, movies, and children's programs. Until 2016, the station also carried West Virginia Tonight from WBOY-TV in Clarksburg, West Virginia; the program moved to WHAG-TV after WHAG's owner, Nexstar Broadcasting Group, acquired the West Virginia Media Holdings stations.
- "Modification of a Licensed Facility for DTV Application" (HTML). Federal Communications Commission. July 28, 2017. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
- Hempel, Jessi (August 12, 2004). "The IRS Calls Nonprofits to Account". Business Week.
- "Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax" (pdf). Good Companion Broadcasting Company. Guidestar. 2000.
- Schotz, Andrew (18 October 2011). "WJAL-TV wants to move license from Hagerstown to Silver Spring". The Herald-Mail, Hagerstown, Maryland. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
- "Local Television Station's Transmitter Building Destroyed By Fire, Station Off Air". your4state.com. WHAG-TV. 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2009-01-15.[dead link]
- "WJAL transmitter burns on mountain". publicopinion.com. Chambersburg Public Opinion. 2009-01-15. Archived from the original on 2013-01-31. Retrieved 2009-01-15.
- "FCC Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction Auction 1001 Winning Bids" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. April 4, 2017. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
- "Channel and Facility Information" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. July 28, 2017. Retrieved August 8, 2017.
- "Amendment to Technical Summary Exhibit" (PDF). Federal Communications Commission. August 24, 2017. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
- Fitch, Jennifer (28 September 2017). "Hagerstown-based WJAL to go dark after government acquisition". Hagerstown Herald-Mail.
- "WJAL Facility Data".
- RabbitEars TV Query for WJAL
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-24.