Matt Shafer Powell

Director of News Content/Executive Producer

Matt was born and raised in Western Michigan, near Grand Rapids. Like many of his generation who eventually worked in radio, Matt spent an inordinate amount of time as a boy with a tape recorder, a microphone and 45s stacked an inch high on the record player. His dreams of being on the radio became reality at the age of 17, when he convinced the news director at a Grand Rapids radio station to let him work for free. Later, while working toward a broadcasting degree at Central Michigan University, he discovered the thrill of the audio production process; in the years since, he's worked as a producer of radio commercials and as an audio engineer, creating soundtracks for videos and films.

In public radio, he's found the perfect confluence of his interests in storytelling, news, writing and audio production. He joined WUOT in November 2002 after heading up Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Bureau. A self-described "sports geek," he also enjoys writing fiction, playing guitar and laughing ‘til it hurts with his wife and three children. Among his guilty pleasures, he lists hockey fights, socks with sandals and the BeeGees' disco-era stuff.

Ways to Connect

The 2016 presidential campaign is breaking all the rules when it comes to how the candidates speak, communicate with the public and get their messages out to voters.   On this episode of Dialogue, WUOT's Matt Shafer Powell welcomes University of Tennessee Political Communication professor Stuart Brotman, a veteran of four presidential administrations.  They look at how this year’s race for the White House compares with past campaigns—and how it will inform future campaigns.

On August 29, 2016, our morning news updates left the impression Tennessee State House candidate Rick Staples is resigning from the League of Women Voters of Knox County.  In truth, Staples is resigning from LWV's Board of Directors, but he will remain as a member of the organization.

Staples has resigned his position on the board because the League's by-laws prohibit board members from running for public office.   

  The answer, of course, is no.  He's from Jamaica.  But somehow, we missed that day in Geography class.  As a result, WUOT accidentally reassigned Mr. Bolt to the South African Olympic team during our Monday morning newscasts.  The South African team would love it to be true, but alas, it is not.  

It was an error and we apologize for the confusion. 

  It’s nearly impossible to discuss the change in downtown Knoxville over the last decade or so without Bill Lyons’ name coming up.  Since leaving a professorship at the University of Tennessee to join City Hall in 2003, the Deputy to the Mayor and Public Policy Officer has become the gear that turns the engine of development in Knoxville’s City Center.  On this episode of Dialogue, Bill Lyons joins host Matt Shafer Powell to talk about how Knoxville's downtown has gone from a lifeless, aging hulk to a vibrant, urban destination.  

  The ‪Healthy Happy Hour Block Party

Join WUOT’s TruckBeat team at the Central Collective in North Knoxville for a FREE family-friendly afternoon block party. #‎HealthyHappyHour will have fun activities for adults and kids, yoga and children's movement classes, free face-painting, a photo booth – and more!

Share your health stories and questions in the TruckBeat story truck.

UT Sports has produced this stirring tribute to Pat Summitt's life and legacy.  You can see it here.

A steady stream of Lady Vols fans and well-wishers filed past Pat Summitt Plaza on the University of Tennessee campus Tuesday to pay tribute to the legendary women's basketball coach.  Summitt died Tuesday morning, following a four-year battle with early -onset dementia, Alzheimer's type.  

TruckBeat: "He Was My Baby"

Jun 10, 2016

Jessica Akhrass' brother died from an overdose of prescription opioid painkillers.    

Now, she is working on a memoir about the experience of losing her brother and successfully pushing for changes in Tennessee state law to tighten regulations around prescription opiates.

“It’s emotionally draining. You have to relive what happened in detail,” says Akhrass, who lives in Lenoir City. 

She says she hopes her book will help fight the stigma associated with addiction and encourage other people to fight for change, even when they’re not sure where to start.

  On this episode of TruckBeat, producers Matt Shafer Powell and Jess Mador examine access to healthcare, and how a lack of transportation and other poverty-related barriers –– non-medical things like bad credit, the location of a grocery store, and a low-paying job without sick days –– combine to form an undeniable bond between low-incomes and poor health. We hear Knoxvillians’ ideas for improving healthcare access. And TruckBeat producer Leslie Snow looks closely at this issue, and one possible solution. It’s called Telehealth.

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