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.


Knoxville Food Trucks
4:30 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Knoxville To Consider New Rules For Food Trucks


Gourmet food trucks have become a big deal in a lot of American cities over the last few years.  But Knoxville is not among them. 

Byron Sambat is hoping to change that.  Sambat and his wife Nikisha own Savory and Sweet Truck of Knoxville.  He says they opened for business last year after seeing cities like Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles teeming with food trucks, each offering hungry customers a wide range of creative and tasty fare. 

“Over the past five or six years, we’ve been wondering why isn’t there anything here?” Sambat says.

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President's visit to Chattanooga
4:50 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

President Offers GOP "Bargain" In Chattanooga Visit

President Barack Obama pitches his middle class jobs plan to a crowd at an fulfillment facility in Chattanooga.
Credit AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Speaking for the first time in East Tennessee since his 2008 election, President Barack Obama offered a “bargain” to his Republican rivals in Washington in an effort to head off a looming budget battle.  Obama told a Chattanooga audience he was willing to cut corporate tax rates if Republicans would agree to spend money on job creation programs for the middle class.

"More good jobs that pay decent wages, a better bargain for the middle class, an economy that grows from the middle out," Obama said.  "That's got to be our focus."

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Presidential Visit
4:30 am
Tue July 30, 2013

President Obama To Talk Jobs In Chattanooga Today

Credit Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama brings his campaign to boost America’s middle class to East Tennessee today when he speaks with employees at the fulfillment center in Chattanooga.  The speech follows by one day Amazon’s announcement that it plans to hire 7,000 workers at its fulfillment and customer service centers nationwide.  The centers in Chattanooga and Murfreesboro are among those that will be hiring.

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Anderson County Courthouse
4:42 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

"In God We Trust" Organizer Dismisses Legal Motion As Attempt At "Publicity"

Credit (aka Brent) via Creative Commons

The Anderson County man who spearheaded the drive to install “In God We Trust” signs on the county’s courthouse says he believes the man who challenged the signs this week is just trying to “get out of jail free”.  Oak Ridge businessman Lynn Byrge was responding to a legal motion by Kenneth Darrin Fisher of Clinton, who claims the signs violate his freedom of worship rights.  Fisher, a Cherokee descendent who follows the spiritual path known as the “Red Road”, is currently awaiting trial for allegedly trying to murder his wife.  

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Tuition Increases
4:30 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Tennessee Legislator To Challenge Tuition Increases

Credit Matt Shafer Powell

A University of Tennessee-Knoxville freshman starting classes in the Fall of 2004 could expect to pay approximately $4748 in tuition and fees.

A student starting classes this fall will pay approximately 2 1/2 times as much.  And one Tennessee Senate Republican says he's seen enough. 

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Scott DesJarlais
4:58 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

DesJarlais' GOP Challengers Leading Money Race

Last November, Tennessee's Fourth District Congressman Scott Desjarlais coasted to a 12-point victory over Democratic challenger Eric Stewart in Desjarlais' first re-election campaign.  That's despite revelations that the pro-life physician had participated in sexual relations with some of his patients and had encouraged one to get an abortion. 

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Aurora Shooting
4:03 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Mysterious Knoxville Business At Center of Theater Shooter's Ammo Supply

Credit creative commons- mr. smashy
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Knox County Schools
4:30 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Knox County Schools Offer Glimpse Into Security Training


This week, members of the East Tennessee media will have the chance to watch as some of Knox County's new school resource officers learn such important skills as Drug Recognition, Verbal Conflict Management and Crime Scene Preservation.  Officers from the newly-expanded security force are in the middle of an intense, six-week program that will prepare them for the coming school year. 

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Roane Co. Jail
2:24 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

New Roane Jail Struggles With Overcrowding

This was supposed to solve the problem.

In 2009, the Roane County Sheriff's Department proudly showed off its brand new, $10 million jailhouse to a public weary of fighting about it.  The long-awaited opening of the facility followed more than a decade of heated discussion, shuttled plans and warnings that the previous facility was dangerously overcrowded. 

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4:30 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Public Invited To See Artifacts At TVA Dig Site

The TVA excavation site contains the foundation of a home once owned by former Knoxville mayor and businessman Peter Kern.
Credit wikicommons

Tennessee Valley Authority officials are planning a public open house to display some of the archaeological discoveries unearthed during an excavation of a downtown Knoxville site.  Sealed for years beneath a parking lot, the site west of Market Square contains the foundations of three turn-of-the-century homes, one of which once belonged to businessman and politician Peter Kern.

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