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.

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TN Photo Services

The heads of the Tennessee General Assembly are refusing to make a case for Governor Bill Haslam’s Medicaid expansion.

Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says he’s trying to be as “neutral as possible.”

“I’ve been asked to be a little more persuading than I have [been] by the governor," Ramsey told a group of small business leaders Tuesday. "That’s not where we need to be on this. This is not something where it doesn’t really matter so I’ll twist somebody’s arm. Each individual needs to make up his mind where he is on this.”

Child school Tennessee
TN Photo Services

Tennessee’s agency that takes over low-performing schools wants permission to start recruiting students. It’s a significant change for the Achievement School District, which was originally tasked with making dramatic gains without bringing in new students.

“What’s happening now is that we’ve got kids who want to send their kids to one of our schools," says ASD superintendent Chris Barbic. "And we have to turn those families away.”

Davidson County Court Clerk via Facebook

Davidson County Criminal Court Clerk Howard Gentry argues that his late entrance into the mayor’s race is not meant to judge the current field, which is already a crowded one. But he says he feels like his vision for the city is unique.

Rex Hammock via Flickr

Nashville will soon have a curfew for construction noise – at least the loudest kind. The city’s codes department has been authorized to create new rules, which would include a ban on blasting and jackhammering overnight.

MNPS via Flickr

A big jump in the number of Nashville schools that rank in Tennessee’s bottom five percent means more personnel decisions for the district. For the most part, Metro Schools plans to keep the current leadership in place.

Out of a dozen schools that now have “priority” status, seven will maintain the current principals, though three of those could lose their jobs if standardized test scores don’t improve this year. In a few cases, spokesman Joe Bass says the district is staying the course because the principals are so new.

Vanderbilt rape trial
David Wright Smith / WPLN (File photo)

Updated 10:00 pm

Defense attorneys for two former Vanderbilt football players are vowing to appeal the convictions of their clients on charges of rape and sexual assault. They’re also sticking to their argument that campus culture played into a dorm room rape in June of 2013.

TN Photo Services

A Tennessee lawmaker whose district includes Nissan’s flagship plant is trying to limit the use of temporary workers on the assembly line, which was the most productive in the U.S. last year. The legislation targets companies like Nissan that are receiving government subsidies.

Spc. Caitlyn Byrne / U.S. Army

One hundred Fort Campbell soldiers will finally be able to hug their families Tuesday after a months-long deployment in response to Ebola. They’ve been at Fort Bliss, Texas, for the last three weeks waiting out the virus’s incubation period. 

Like with any other mission, soldiers say they’re ready to be with their families and get back to their routines. Sgt. Maj. Thomas Pollack of the 101st Airborne Division says he plans to spend some time outside.

Auxiliarist via Flickr

WPLN asked this: is it the city’s job to help low-income families stay put, even as real estate values soar around them, sending rent and property tax bills through the roof?

Auxiliarist via Flickr

The candidates to be Nashville’s next mayor are rather short on specific ideas to slow gentrification, though they agree its one of the city’s biggest challenges.

WPLN asked this: is it the city’s job to help low-income families stay put, even as real estate values soar around them, sending rent and property tax bills through the roof?

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