Blake Farmer | Nashville Public Radio

Blake Farmer

Senior Health Care Reporter

Blake Farmer is Nashville Public Radio's senior health care reporter. In a partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, Blake covers health in Tennessee and the health care industry in the Nashville area for local and national audiences.

Blake has worked at WPLN throughout his career, most recently serving as news director and primary editor for the newsroom. Previously, his reporting focused on education and the military. He's also enjoyed producing stories about midnight frog gigging and churches holding gun raffles. 

Growing up in East Nashville, Blake attended Lipscomb Academy. He went to college in Texas at Abilene Christian University where he cut his teeth in radio at KACU-FM. Before joining WPLN full time in 2007, Blake also wrote for the Nashville City Paper and filed international stories for World Christian Broadcasting.

An active member and past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists Middle Tennessee Chapter, Blake has also won numerous regional and national awards from the Associated Press, RTDNA and PRNDI. In 2017, his alma mater honored him with the Gutenberg Award for achievements of journalism graduates. 

This may say more than anything: he always keeps his audio recorder handy, even on vacation, just in case there's a story to be told.

Ways to Connect

Blake Farmer / WPLN

The growth of charter schools in Nashville has continued to divide public education advocates, but the candidates for mayor have avoided taking sides. 

WPLN asked each candidate this question: In the complex and nuanced debate about charter schools, do you find yourself more often siding with charter advocates or opponents? 

Blake Farmer

The growth of charter schools in Nashville has continued to divide public education advocates, but the six major candidates for mayor have avoided taking sides. 

WPLN asked each candidate this question: In the complex and nuanced debate about charter schools, do you find yourself more often siding with charter advocates or opponents? Most of them didn't want to respond.

The All-Night Images via Flickr

Should Nashville have its own minimum wage? It's a move made recently in neighboring states and nearby cities.

Most of the states without a minimum wage higher than the federal rate of $7.25 an hour are in the South, and Tennessee is one of them. There's been little-to-no support for raising the mandated base pay at the state level, but there have been rumblings on the city level.

The All-Night Images via Flickr

Should Nashville have its own minimum wage? It's a move made recently in neighboring states and nearby cities.

Most of the states without a minimum wage higher than the federal rate of $7.25 an hour are in the South, and Tennessee is one of them. There's been little-to-no support for raising the mandated base pay at the state level, but there have been rumblings on the city level.

Fort Campbell
Stephen Jerkins / WPLN (File photo)

Tuesday night is Clarksville’s chance to make its case for preserving as many jobs as possible at Fort Campbell. Local leaders have been working to recruit an overflow crowd in order to persuade Pentagons officials, going as far as to put up Interstate billboards advertising the so-called "listening session."

According to Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett, Lamar Advertising donated 10 billboards - five in Clarksville and five in Nashville.

K-12 via Facebook

This year, Tennessee lawmakers must decide whether or not to stay in the statewide cyber school business. The legislative act that paved the way for the troubled Tennessee Virtual Academy needs to be renewed.

For-profit virtual school operator K12 Inc. needed state law changed in order to pull students from all 95 counties. House Education Committee chairman Harry Brooks sponsored the bill in 2011.

HELP Committee via YouTube

In his first days as chairman of the U.S. Senate’s education committee, Lamar Alexander is following through on a pledge to fix the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law. He’s set a goal of having a bill to vote on within a few weeks.

The Tennessee Republican says there’s general agreement on some changes, like setting realistic goals. But he says there will be real debate on topics like standardized testing.

ORNL

Scientists from Oak Ridge National Lab are at the Detroit Auto Show this week showing off a sleek Shelby Cobra that they built with a 3-D printer.

Lonnie Love, who leads ORNL’s manufacturing systems research group, says he doesn’t expect cars to be mass produced this way in his lifetime. But it might be how car companies start building models, which is currently done with clay.

“You can go out and print a working prototype in weeks, in days,” Love says in a promotional video.

TN Photo Services

Things got so bad with Northrop Grumman that TennCare hired an outside accounting firm a few months ago to come in and audit the contract. KPMG – which was paid $1 million for its help – told the state it might be a good idea to part ways.A year after a contractor failed to deliver a new computer system to TennCare, the agency is starting over. Northrop Grumman won the $35 million project three years ago but has never brought online the new system for determining who is eligible for health benefits.

JeepersMedia via Flickr

AAA auto club says the average price of gas has now dipped below $2 a gallon in 18 states, including Tennessee. WPLN talked to drivers filling up in MetroCenter for $1.86.

“It’s more affordable for us to go home,” says TSU student Rosalyn Fitzgerald, who has been taking her kids back to Memphis more often. “Usually, we would spend maybe $50. Now that the gas prices are lower, we’re spending like $30 at the most.”

Treva Gordon is a magazine publisher from Clarksville who says she commutes 100 miles a day.

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