WUSA originally signed on the air on January 16, 1949, as WOIC-TV, as a primary CBS affiliate on VHF channel 9, and was originally owned by the Bamberger Broadcasting Service, a subsidiary of R. H. Macy & Company.
A similar logo was also used by fellow Post-Newsweek stations WPLG, WFSB, and WJXT, and channel 9's then-radio cousin, WTOP-AM.
On June 26, 1978, Post-Newsweek Stations exchanged WTOP-TV with the Evening News Association's WWJ-TV (now WDIV-TV) in Detroit. That same day,
WTOP-TV changed its call letters to WDVM-TV, with the new call letters representing the initials of the areas which channel 9 serves: District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland.
When this logo was introduced, it was rendered in a "plexiglass" style, with the shadows forming the overall design; the '9's underlying shape was thin.
On July 4, 1986, WDVM-TV changed its callsign to the current WUSA in recognition of the station being located in the capital city of the U.S., and the station's then-recent acquisition by the broadcasting unit of Gannett (spun off as Tegna in 2015), owner of USA Today. The WUSA callsign had previously been used by another station in Minneapolis (also owned by Gannett), which changed its callsign to KARE. The WDVM-TV callsign is now in use on an unrelated station in Hagerstown, Maryland since 2017. The station kept its 1978 angular 9 logo.
WUSA introduced a new look on January 17, 2013, as they also adopted Gannett's new graphics package.