Since WBLH 92.5-FM began broadcasting in June, listening to the radio station has been a bit like hitting the random button on an iPod.
From an opera aria or country song, the station would segue into the theme songs of "Bob the Builder" and "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe."
After 45 minutes, interspersed with announcements that the station was "coming soon," the playlist would start all over again.
This week, though, the eclectic song loop stopped and Watertown's newest radio station began a live broadcast from its new studios in the J.B. Wise plaza. By next week, this mysterious station will be a mystery no longer.
Michael M. Stapleford, president of Intrepid Broadcasting, which manages the station, said his company will kick off an aggressive advertising campaign to introduce the start-up station to area listeners.
Intrepid Broadcasting, based at State College, Pa., is in the process of purchasing the radio station's license from Radioactive LLC for $210,000.
Intrepid has a local marketing agreement with Radioactive to manage and operate the station until the sale is finalized, Mr. Stapleford said.
The past month and a half of repeating music gave Intrepid time to find studio and office space for WBLH, hire a preliminary staff of five and work through lingering technical issues, Mr. Stapleford said.
"We put the signal on the air and began testing it at the beginning of June," he said. "We had wanted to have it on by the first of August, and we hit that deadline."
The new "Your Tunes" 92.5 FM will feature a wide range of music spanning the last three decades, as well as local news and information, he said.
"It will be the most variety you'll find anywhere and easy to listen to for a long period of time," Mr. Stapleford said.
The Watertown market is a step in a different direction for Mr. Stapleford, who has focused his radio endeavors in Pennsylvania. His company, Magnum Broadcasting Inc., owns four stations across the state and manages a fifth.
Born in Utica, Mr. Stapleford said he has always had a fondness for Central and Northern New York. When the opportunity came to buy a radio station in Watertown, he jumped at the offer.
"I think that the Watertown area is very viable. It's got a lot of growth potential and a lot of things to offer," he said. "We fully intend to be an important part of Watertown, Black River and Fort Drum going forward."
Mr. Stapleford said WBLH ultimately will have a staff of 12 to 15 people and will have content that is "very responsive to what the local needs dictate." The station's signal is broadcast from a transmitter in Black River.
The original 45-minute loop came about in June when Mr. Stapleford told his creative director to come up with content that "would pique someone's interest if they tuned to the frequency."
The result was a mix of songs designed to build anticipation leading up to the official launch of the station Thursday.
"It seems like a lot of people have been paying attention to a month and a half of 45 minutes," Mr. Stapleford said. "Based on what we're seeing and hearing, there's already a substantial listenership."
Station manager Jennifer S. Loonan agreed, noting that the station was able to create a following even with such a short spurt of repeating content.
"There were people who kept tuning in to see because they knew something was coming," she said. "They just didn't know what."