As WPLN’s morning news editor, LaTonya Turner (she) is actively involved in editorial decisions in the newsroom and manages a group of on-air hosts and reporters. Get to know her.

1. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A dancer ⁠— from kindergarten. I like most styles and studied performance dance in college, mostly modern, African, precision/high-kick and a bit of tap. I also had a strong interest in fashion design. I loved to sew (my mom taught me, she was a great seamstress and seamstress), made a few of my outfits in high school, and spent an immersion summer in Dallas learning more about the fashion design industry. And I’ve always loved to write.

2. What made you want to work for WPLN News?

I’ve been listening since moving to Nashville and appreciate WPLN’s commitment to public service journalism. I have been impressed with the recent growth and diversity of news personnel, the upliftment of diverse and marginalized voices, and corporate reporting. The station plans to add a daily current affairs program (This is Nashville) is what prompted me to apply. It was a big decision for me after so many years as a journalist/TV presenter and producer of documentaries, which I still love so much. But moving from commercial television to public media at Nashville Public Television fueled my natural desire for public service journalism. Doing this kind of work on a daily and consistent basis is why I joined WPLN News. I am impressed with the collaboration and enthusiasm of the staff and find that the WPLN newsroom culture fits well with my approach to journalism and work in general. The transition from television to radio was pretty easy, and it’s a perfect “season” in my career for a leadership and editorial role in a newsroom like this.

3. a) Do you consider yourself a foodie? b) Do you have any favorite restaurants in Nashville so far? c) Are there any places on your “to try” list?

a) I am not a foodie; but I am passionate about culture and food stories. Growing up in the South, especially in my home state of Louisiana, you learn that food is culture, history, entertainment as much as sustenance. Okra is not just a seafood stew. It derives from the rich traditions of various cultures and peoples (Africans, Cajuns/French, Native Americans) who, because they were resourceful, cheerful with a bit of swagger, have created a convenient dish that is now almost a delicacy. The same goes for many cuisines around the world, and I enjoy learning about them and cooking some for my family.

b) No offense, but Louisiana seafood dishes are hard to match, so I’m not even trying to do that here, LOL. Some of my local favorites are Redlands Grill, Seafood Sensation (Jefferson Street), Urban Grub, Slim & Husky’s, and Swett’s.

c) I am still COVID cautious when it comes to dining out. But I can’t wait to try some of the new restaurants opened here by celebrity chefs like Maneet Chauhan.

4. What do you like to do for fun outside of the office?

I am a BIG fan of musical theater and dance performances. I love everything about being in the audience – from studying the play’s poster, to the curtain warmer, to the opening number and the grand finale. It’s even better if I’m with my daughter (an emerging performer) or theater friends. I also produced community theater shows, which I really enjoyed and found to be a wonderful and fun use of my skills. I play the piano sometimes for relaxation – just fun songs on sheet music I’ve collected. And I like to do almost anything with my children and my husband.

5. Where have you lived outside of Middle Tennessee?

Louisiana. I was born there, grew up upstate, went to LSU, and started my television career in Shreveport.

BONUS 1: What’s your favorite karaoke song? (It’s not that you’re being blackmailed.)

My favorite songs are show tunes, especially musicals. There are so many that it’s hard to choose. I will always love the songs of “The Wiz” because as a girl it was the first Broadway musical I saw on tour and it made a huge impression – not just because of the music incredible, but also the phenomenal cast of Black talent and black culture. “Ease On Down The Road” and “Home” are classics for me. The Lion King“Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata” are fun with mostly songs written by Alan Menken (who does most of the Disney musicals).

BONUS 2: Where is your dream vacation?

For a truly relaxing vacation, I would go somewhere tropical, like Bali, the Maldives, or Costa Rica. For a cultural trip, I want to visit West Africa (probably Ghana) and experience the door of no return and the roots of my African ancestry. I also hope to visit Paris and some of the British Isles (I actually have Scottish-Irish ancestry on my mother’s side, the Campbells).