WNWO anchor and husband update a holiday classicWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Newlyweds Abby Powell Turpin, anchor/writer/producer for WNWO’s morning show, and her husband Travis Turpin didn’t waste time recording “The Christmas Song” for “Holiday Wishes 2,” a CD project benefiting Make-A-Wish Foundation. In fact, the two were in the studio the day after they returned from their honeymoon. The pair got married Oct. 6 in Nebraska, where Travis is from, before traveling to an all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. They received an email asking them to do a track while vacationing and quickly agreed, Abby said. “[Recording the track] was great. We have a great time singing together and it’s always nice with Christmas music. It’s all about family and love,” she said. After working her shift at WNWO (Abby gets to work at 12:30 a.m. and then anchors from 4:30-7 a.m.), she and Travis cut the track together earlier this fall.
Singing was what brought Abby and Travis together. In 2008, the two met while performing a country music revue in Nashville, Tenn. “[Travis] is actually still a headliner on cruise ships so he travels usually about two weeks out of the month,” Abby said. During the interview, Travis was headlining on a cruise by Saint Martin in the Caribbean.
Abby left the full-time entertainment business to become a broadcast journalist. She joined WNWO this summer after working in Texas. She said her husband’s career allows her to be flexible with her own. “He can live anywhere as long as it’s near an airport,” Abby said. Abby grew up near Columbus before receiving a musical theater degree from Belmont University in Nashville.
After college, she spent time working in New York City and at Toyko Disney, where she was lead singer in a Big Band show and played Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” at special events. “This is my first time living in Ohio in a long time,” she said. “It’s nice to be back in the Midwest. It’s what I grew up around; it’s what I know so well.” Although Abby still sings at WNWO events, she said she’s happy to be in her new field. “I kind of knew [singing] wasn’t the ultimate career for me … I’ve always really loved writing so that’s kind of what got me in to the broadcasting world,” she said. “I’m 32 now and I think that every experience that I had in my 20s in the performing business when I was living in New York City and living in Japan, that really helped make me the person that I am today in order to be an effective communicator in the broadcast business,” Abby added.
Abby said she enjoys lending her voice to good causes like Make-A-Wish. “Singing is always a lot of fun, but when it can be put to use to help a really important cause, that’s when it really means something. Singing’s always very special. It makes you feel a lot of emotions when you perform,” she said. “‘The Christmas Song’ is actually my favorite Christmas song. I love the Nat King Cole version and that’s what made that song famous,” Abby added of the silky, smooth track she chose for “Holiday Wishes 2.” “The Christmas Song,” with its well-known lyrics, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” was written by Mel Tormé and Bob Wells in 1944. The Nat King Cole Trio later recorded the song in 1946.
Abby’s own unique style and her husband’s are evident on the track they contributed. “Travis, what he does out on ships as a headliner, is he does a lot of Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and so he just sang in his style and I sang it in my style. [With] my style, I have a lot of opera training. We did our own styles and kind of bent toward each other’s as well,” she said. But will Abby ever return to showbiz? She doesn’t think so. “Music has always been something that I loved … but I really don’t miss doing it full time. I really feel very fulfilled doing the broadcasting business,” she said. “I really love the broadcast business. I want to be in the broadcast business the rest of my life.”