Martinsburg, West Virginia
|Branding||WJAL Family 68|
|Channels||Digital: 39 (UHF)
Virtual: 68 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||Independent (since 1998; also from 1984–1995)|
|Owner||Entravision Communications Corporation
(Entravision Holdings, LLC)
|First air date||August 1, 1984|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog: 68 (1984–2009)|
|Former affiliations||The WB (1995–1998)|
|Transmitter power||105 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WJAL, "Family 68", is an independent television station serving Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. It is one of only six English-language stations owned by Entravision Communications, a company better known for its ownership of Spanish-language stations across the United States. Despite being licensed to Hagerstown, Maryland, WJAL's offices are located in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania (within the Harrisburg television market), and its transmitter located fifteen miles (24 km) west of Chambersburg, atop Tuscarora Mountain near the town of McConnellsburg.
The station first broadcast on August 1, 1984, as the third television station in Hagerstown (after WHAG-TV and WWPB), 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. 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 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.
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|68.1||480i||4:3||WJAL-DT||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.
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.
- 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. Retrieved 2009-01-15.[dead link]
- RabbitEars TV Query for WJAL
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.