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.

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Inside of Knoxville

As the 20th century rolled into the 21st, Scott West was considered a whiz-kid entrepreneur, one of the architects responsible for the revitalization of Knoxville's downtown.  But the conversation about Scott West changed in 2006, when he was arrested for his role in a marijuana-smuggling operation, one in which he was convicted of using his popular downtown properties to launder drug money.  

WUOT, Matt Shafer Powell

Few issues in Tennessee generate the kind of passion and intensity as gun ownership.  For many, a gun is a swift and deadly instrument of mayhem.  Others, however, simply see a gun as a tool, only as dangerous as the hand holding it. 

During the week of November 28, 2016, WUOT presented five East Tennessee stories.  In each, a gun played a significant and pivotal role in the life of the storyteller.  Here are three examples:  

Jess Mador

In Roane County, Tenn., the legal and personal costs of the opioid epidemic collide at the county courthouse.

 

As an assistant to the local prosecutor, Charlene Hipsher helped launch a special "recovery court" with the goal of getting drug addicts into treatment instead of jail.

"Roane County is such a beautiful part of the country, with lush mountains and beautiful rivers," Hipsher says. "But we do have a terrible problem here, and it's opiate addiction."

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