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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Ernest Moniz
4:00 am
Mon June 3, 2013

New U.S. Energy Secretary To Visit Oak Ridge Today

Credit U.S. Department of Energy

New Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will visit Oak Ridge on Monday to tour the D.O.E.'s facilities there, including the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Spallatial Neutron Source.   It's one of Moniz's first acts as Energy Secretary, having just taken over the post from his predecessor Stephen Chu on May 21.  The M.I.T. physics professor sailed through his Senate confirmation 97-0, despite concerns from environmentalists about his support of nuclear energy, natural gas exploration and his connections to large oil companies like BP and Shell.     

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Bruce Downsbrough arrested
9:30 am
Thu May 30, 2013

UT Foundation Executive Fired Following Child Pornography Arrest

Credit University of Tennessee

The University of Tennessee Foundation has fired Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President Bruce Downsbrough following his arrest Tuesday on child pornography charges.  A federal indictment claims Downsbrough downloaded child pornography on three separate occasions between 2008 and 2012.  In the indictment, agents also claim a raid on Downsbrough's home yielded more illegal videos and images.

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Chattanooga Dog Fighting Operation
5:13 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

TBI Agents Discover Dog Fighting Operation

Animal cruelty investigators remove a treadmill from a Chattanooga home on Friday. The treadmill was allegedly used to condition fighting dogs.
Credit WRCB-TV

Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation say they uncovered evidence of an illegal dog fighting operation over the weekend while executing a narcotics search warrant at a Chattanooga home.  McKamey Animal Services of Chattanooga was called in to investigate the scene after law enforcement officials found a dozen dogs, an indoor fighting ring and several dog fighting tools, including a treadmill used to condition fighting dogs.  McKamey Executive Director Karen Walsh tells WUOT News it's rare to find this much evidence because dog fighting operations are notoriously mobile. 

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Ticks
4:00 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

Tennessee Sees Increase In Number, Variety Of Ticks

Black-Legged ticks are among the variety of tick species moving into Tennessee
Credit Graham Hickling

Researchers at the University of Tennessee's Center for Wildlife Health say Tennessee is becoming a sort of "meeting place" for different varieties of ticks, a tangible result of a changing climate.  Each new species of tick brings its own bacteria and viruses, complicating the task of diagnosing and treating tick-borne illnesses.  The Center's Dr.

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Benchmark Capital, Inc.
9:17 am
Fri May 24, 2013

More Arrests Made In Alleged Investment Scheme

Charles "C.D." Candler committed suicide March 1, 2012 just as federal investigators were beginning to look into a possible investment scheme at Benchmark Capital, Inc.
Credit knoxnews.com

U.S.

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Unemployment
3:31 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Knox County Sees Slight Increase in Unemployment Rate

Credit Tennessee Department of Labor And Workforce Development

Knox County's unemployment rate rose two-tenths of a percentage point in April, but it still remains the lowest among Tennessee's metropolitan counties. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development reports a rate of 6.4% in Knox County, up from March's rate of 6.2%.  When compared with other Tennessee counties, Knox County has the fourth-lowest unemployment rate in the state.  Williamson County in Middle Tennessee has the lowest.  Despite a drop of more than one full percentage point in the last month,

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Morristown Animal Shelter
3:51 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

State Audit Finds Thousands Stolen from Morristown Animal Shelter

Credit Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury

An audit by  the Tennessee State Comptroller's Office reports thousands of dollars in donations and adoption fees were stolen from the Morristown-Hamblen Humane Society between 2009 and 2011.  The audit was requested by Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain when an employee of the animal shelter discovered several receipts had been backdated so that they wouldn't appear in daily collection reports.  In all, the comptroller's office believes a total of $51,130 has been stolen.  That money was supposed

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Clinch River Corporation
4:00 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Emory River Paper Mill added to Superfund List

Credit EPA.gov

An abandoned pulp and paper mill on the Emory River near Harriman has been added to the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).  A Superfund designation by the EPA means the Clinch River Corporation site poses a "significant threat to public health" and the EPA now has the right to require the current owner to conduct or pay for clean-up of the site.  An EPA evaluation of the 30.5 acre site claims the site was contaminated with several by-products of the paper manufacturing process, includi

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Fort Sanders homes
12:42 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

UT receives permission to purchase, demolish three Fort Sanders homes

The University of Tennessee has received permission to purchase three homes on White Avenue in the Fort Sanders neighborhood. UT officials plan to use some of that space to build a new classroom building.
Credit WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

The Tennessee State Building Commission has approved a proposal from the University of Tennessee that would allow UT to purchase three homes in the Fort Sanders neighborhood and demolish them if necessary.  In a press release, university officials say they're hoping to build a new four-to-five story classroom building in the space currently occupied by three Queen Anne-style homes.  The 200,000 square foot building will eventually feature general-purpose classrooms, shared laboratories and house facilities related to the university's microbiology, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biolo

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Knoxville Glove Company
4:09 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Knoxville Glove Company To Close

A pair of Knox-Fit gloves manufactured by Knoxville Glove Company.

A company that has been manufacturing gloves in Knoxville for 99 years will shut its doors this Friday.  The Knoxville Glove Company formed in 1914 and at its peak in the 1960's, it employed 350 people, manufacturing sturdy industrial gloves for clients like the Department of Defense and NASA.  But the domestic glove industry has long since buckled under the strain of foreign competition and these days, Knoxville Glove Company employs just 15 workers.  In a 2011 article in Metro Pulse, owner Rod Townsend Jr.

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