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.

Pages

Energy
4:30 am
Fri May 30, 2014

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

Credit WUOT News, Matt Moon

  

  For more than 30 years, Stephen Smith has been a thorn firmly planted into the side of the Tennessee Valley Authority.  The Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy has never been shy about holding the giant utility accountable, especially when it comes to the TVA’s dismal record on air quality

Read more
Waterborne Illnesses
11:00 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Threat Of Sickness Increases As East Tennesseans Return To the Water

  As East Tennesseans begin to head back into the water for the summer swimming season, the Tennessee Department of Health suggests they be aware of some of the dangers of swimming in infected lakes, streams and pools.

Read more
Marijuana
2:27 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Vanderbilt Survey Confirms Changing Attitudes About Pot

A study released Wednesday by Vanderbilt University's Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions finds Tennesseans are becoming more open to the idea of decriminalizing marijuana, especially if it's used for medical reasons.

Read more
Hate Crime
4:30 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Report Shows Increase In Hate Crimes-- Or Does It?

Credit WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation report on hate crimes in Tennessee released Tuesday shows the number of victims victims rose from 297 to 348 in 2013, an increase of 17 percent from 2012. 

But a look into the statistics shows the change may not be as dramatic or disheartening as it seems. 

Read more
Tennessee Promise
4:11 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Haslam Signs Tuition Bill At Knox Ceremony

Credit WUOT News, Matt Moon

Governor Bill Haslam held a ceremonial signing of his Tennessee Promise law at Knoxville's Fulton High School today, a law that will provide free community college tuition for thousands of Tennessee students.  

Tennessee Promise will eliminate tuition costs for Tennessee high school students who graduate and immediately enroll at one of the state's community colleges.  

Read more
Historic Preservation
2:35 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Fort Sanders Once Again Tops Endangered Properties List

Credit WUOT News, Matt Moon

  The Knoxville preservation group Knox Heritage has once again placed the Fort Sanders Neighborhood at the top of its annual list of endangered historic properties.  The Fragile Fifteen list released today highlights several Fort Sanders homes and the former IGA grocery store on 18th Street, all of which could be demolished to make way for expansion projects at the University of Tennessee and Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center.     

The neighborhood, located just north of UT’s campus, also topped the 2013 list.

Read more
Measles
1:15 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

State Investigating Five Measles Cases In Tenn.

This government file photograph shows a skin rash after three days of measles infection.
Credit cdc.gov

  The federal government declared measles eradicated in 2000.  But news out of Nashville today would suggest the disease is anything but gone.

Read more
Rabies in Tennessee
4:17 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Rabies Rare In Tenn., But Still A Dangerous Threat

Skunks and raccoons are among the most common carriers of rabies in Tennessee.
Credit hswlt.org

  The warmer spring weather is encouraging more Tennesseans and their pets to go outside.  That increases the possibility that either could come into contact with rabies

Although the deadly virus is nearly non-existent in people and domestic animals in Tennessee, it does exist in the wild.  Tennessee Department of Health officials say 37 animals tested positive for rabies in 2013 and all were wild. 

Read more
TBI Crime Report
5:00 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Number of Murders in Tenn. Drops To Lowest Level In Years

Credit tbi.gov

An annual report on crime in Tennessee suggests the number of murders in 2013 was the lowest since the TBI began releasing its "Crime In Tennessee" report in 2001.

The compilation of crime statistics from local law enforcement agencies shows a total of 333 murders in 2013, down 18.6 percent from 2012’s total of 390.    

Read more
Stacey Campfield
3:10 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Campfield Blog Post Draws Fire From State GOP

Credit capitol.tn.gov

The head of the Tennessee Republican Party called for Knoxville Sen. Stacey Campfield to apologize to members of the Jewish faith today after Campfield posted comments Monday morning drawing comparisons between ObamaCare and the Holocaust.

“Democrats bragging about the number of mandatory sign ups for Obamacare is like Germans bragging about the number of mandatory (sic) sign ups for ‘train rides’ for Jews in the 40s,” Campfield posted on his Camp4u web blog.

Read more

Pages