Originally signed on the air on October 23, 1962 as WCIV, the third commercial outlet in Charleston. The original license was granted to WTMA-TV but the call letters were later changed to WCIV before it signed on. It took the NBC affiliation from WCBD-TV (known as WUSN-TV at the time), leaving that station to become a full-time ABC affiliate. The station was originally owned by the Washington Star Company. In 1976, businessman Joe Allbritton bought the Star and sold off the non-television assets in 1978 to form the Allbritton Communications Company.
On August 19, 1996, WCIV swapped network affiliations with WCBD-TV and became an ABC affiliate. This affiliation switch, which occured due to a group-wide ABC affiliation deal with the station's owner at the time (Allbritton Communications), saw NBC return to WCBD-TV for the first time since 1962.
On October 15, 2011, WCIV started broadcasting their newscasts in high-definition and introduced a slightly updated version of its logo.
On July 29, 2013, Allbritton announced that it would sell its entire television group, including WCIV, to the Sinclair Broadcast Group. As part of the deal, Sinclair intended to sell WMMP's license assets, but would still operate that station through shared services and joint sales agreements. On September 25, in preparation for the signal switch, a simulcast of WCIV was added to WMMP's second digital subchannel, along with MeTV on 36.3, replacing ZUUS Country on that channel. The two stations then swapped licenses four days later; WCIV's call sign was moved to the WMMP license and virtual channel 36, while WMMP's call sign and virtual channel 4 was moved to the WCIV license which was sold to Howard Stirk Holdings.