The station first broadcast on August 1, 1984, as the third television station in Hagerstown, the fourth independent station in the Washington DMA, after WTTG, WDCA, and WCQR, and the first outside Washington. 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 Spanish-language network Entravision Communications 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 as of 2015 have remained unsuccessful; thus it has continued to run 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.
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.
WJAL currently airs a mix of religious programming (especially on Sunday), public affairs programming, syndicated shows, sitcom reruns, movies, and children's programs. The station also carries West Virginia Tonight Live from WBOY-TV in Clarksburg, West Virginia.