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‘Tangled Up in Blues’ show finds new home

Blues fans have a reason to smile. “Tangled Up in Blues” returns to the airwaves Sunday, although local music fans will have to listen online.

Cornel Bogdan, who hosted the Sunday night blues show for 20 years on WNCD-FM and WKBN-AM, was furloughed as a senior account manager in March 2020 by iHeartRadio, which owns those stations. “Tangled” ended a few months later.

“My whole world was turned upside down,” he said. “I didn’t see it coming … Since the end of June when I stopped being on air, not a day went by that I haven’t received emails, text messages, Facebook messages asking, ‘What are you doing?’ ‘When are you coming back?’ That was such a great feeling.”

Bogdan interviewed for jobs in other markets, but he didn’t want to leave the area. Taking a job at Canton-based WHBC-AM as a senior account manager allowed him to stay in the area and bring back his radio show.

“That was the very first thing they brought up, ‘Can you bring your blues show?'” he said.

“Tangled Up in Blues” can be heard 7 to 10 p.m. Sundays at whbc.com or by using any of the major radio apps — including, ironically, the iHeartRadio app. Those radio apps helped give “Tangled Up in Blues” an audience that reached far beyond the Mahoning Valley, and many of the messages Bogdan received were from out-of-state listeners.

Bogdan said Thursday he was in the studio “trying to get my chops back” after being off the radio for so long and figuring out what music he wants to play.

“There are number of artists who are near and dear to the blues world who have moved upward and onward,” he said. “We’re definitely going to do our own little tribute to Michael Stanley (who died March 5).”

While Stanley isn’t remembered as a blues musician, Bogdan plans to play a rare cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Red House” performed by the Cleveland rocker. He also has a stack of new music he wants to play.

“Even the stations that play the blues, they’re not adding new music,” he said. “I’m so excited. I’ve got new tracks from Chris Cain, Curtis Salgado, Kim Wilson, the new stuff Larkin Poe is doing. Where else is that being played?”

Bogdan was the last link between the original WNCD “The Wolf,” which went on the air in 1988 as the first FM station licensed in Trumbull County, and iHeartRadio, which owns more than 850 stations nationwide.

“I was the ‘soul’ survivor,” Bogdan said. “There’s no live person on WNCD … Mine was the last live show of its kind running on Sunday night on basically any iHeart station.”

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