About WLNS 6WLAJ began broadcasting on October 13, 1990, operating from a converted appliance store. The station was originally owned by Joel Ferguson, the founding owner of the market's first independent station, WFSL-TV (now Fox affiliate WSYM-TV). Ferguson had used the proceeds from the sale of WFSL to launch WLAJ.
Prior to its sign-on in 1990, Lansing had been one of the biggest markets in the United States without a full-time ABC affiliate, even though it had been large enough to support three full network affiliates since at least the 1960s. However, only two VHF licenses were assigned to the city—channels 6 and 10, occupied by CBS affiliate WLNS and NBC affiliate WILX-TV. UHF was not considered viable even after the FCC mandated all-channel tuning in 1964. Although Lansing is a fairly compact market geographically, it is sandwiched between Detroit to the east, Flint/Saginaw/Bay City to the north, Toledo to the south, and Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek to the west. Therefore, it was not likely there would have been room to drop in a third VHF licensee. By the 1980s, cable and satellite had gained enough penetration in Mid-Michigan to make a UHF "Big Three" affiliate viable.