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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Breaking News
4:26 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

BREAKING NEWS: Senate Committee Kills Insure Tennessee Bill

The Tennessee Senate Health and Welfare committee has officially killed a bill that would have provided health insurance to thousands of low-income Tennesseans.  The plan, known as Insure Tennessee, was being touted by Governor Bill Haslam as an alternative to the federal Affordable Care Act.  However, the administration couldn't get enough votes to push it through the Senate committee.  The Senate committee vote came only moments after House speaker Beth Harwell announced she didn't have enough votes to get the bill approved in the House.

Contest Entry
2:09 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

CONTEST ENTRY: Dialogue

WUOT's Dialogue program is alternately hosted by Matt Shafer Powell, Chrissy Keuper and Brandon Hollingsworth.  This live call-in program addresses a variety of issues important to Tennesseans and attempts to drill down to find the stories and the people behind the headlines.   In 2014, Dialogue featured live interviews on everything from homelessness and gay marriage to endangered animals and social media.  This particular episode explores such universal themes as racism, violence, friendship and forgiveness....

  

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Contest Entry
12:17 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

CONTEST ENTRY: Lost Highway-- The Life And Music of Hank Williams

The late country singer and songwriter Hank Williams has a special place in Knoxville lore.  After all, it was the last place he was seen alive before his mysterious, premature death at the age of 29.  Tonight, "Lost Highway"--the story of Hank Williams' life and music---comes to the stage at the Clarence Brown Theatre.  The play stars Peter Oyloe, who’s making a career out of portraying Williams at various venues around the country.  WUOT’s Matt Shafer Powell recently had the chance to sit down with Oyloe and discuss Hank Williams—the singer, the songwriter …and the man…

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Contest Entry
12:14 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

CONTEST ENTRY: UT's Thompson-Boling Arena To Debut Revolutionary LED Lights

Earlier this week, the University of Tennessee announced it’s having all-new lighting installed at Thompson-Boling Arena.  The new system consists of Light-Emitting Diodes—or LED's.  LED lights like these are en vogue now because they’re efficient and adaptable. But they’ve never been used in large sports arenas. WUOT’s Matt Shafer Powell explains why.

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Contest Entry
12:08 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

CONTEST ENTRY: Campaign Signs Fight For Attention In Crowded Election

INTRO:  This is 91.9 FM WUOT. I’m Chrissy Keuper.  In case you haven’t noticed, this is election time in East Tennessee—in fact, today is Election Day.  And it would be hard not to notice, thanks to the thousands and thousands of yard signs that currently adorn our front yards and intersections.  Those yard signs are cheap, they’re colorful and they’re everywhere.  Last week, WUOT’s Matt Shafer Powell visited one early voting site, where yard signs have become as much a part of campaign culture as the dubious promise and the baby in need of a kiss…

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Contest Entry
11:58 am
Fri January 30, 2015

CONTEST ENTRY: The TVA’s New Coal Strategy: Culture Change Or Simple Economics?

Since its birth in 1933, the TVA has never been short of critics.  Many blame the historically bad air in the Tennessee Valley on the arrogance of TVA management and the agency’s dirty, inefficient coal-fired power plants.  But in the last few years, the TVA has begun retiring some of its older plants, refurbishing others and  is starting to embrace different sources of fuel for the electricity it produces. WUOT's Matt Shafer Powell reports some of the utility's critics are beginning to take notice...

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Education
4:30 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Fewer East Tennesseans Taking And Passing High School Equivalency Test

Credit WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

In March of 2009, the unemployment rate in East Tennessee was skyrocketing.  And Melissa Nance’s phone was ringing off the hook.

As Executive Director of Knoxville’s Friends of Literacy, Nance works closely with Knox County Schools’ Adult Education Program to provide assistance for those East Tennesseans who may have dropped out of school and would now like to get a high school equivalency diploma.

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Presidential Visit
2:32 pm
Sun January 11, 2015

Hear Complete Speeches From Presidential Visit To Pellissippi

President Barack Obama greets well-wishers following a speech at Pellissippi State Community College (Jan 9, 2015)
Shawn Millsaps

  

  

  On January 9, 2015, President Barack Obama spoke at Pellissippi State Community College to announce a proposed program that would pay for community college tuition nationwide.  He was joined by Vice President Joe Biden, Second Lady Jill Biden and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.

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Dialogue
9:05 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Dialogue: Evangelicals And The Environment

  On this episode of Dialogue,  host Matt Shafer Powell and Dr. Cheryl Johns, Pentecostal minister and professor at the Cleveland-based Pentecostal Theological Seminary examine the ways in which Christian evangelicals are making care of the environment an important part of their spiritual message.  How does it square with their beliefs about creation and end times?  And how does it affect long-standing political alliances?  

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