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.


Solid Waste Management
4:30 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Input Sought On New Solid Waste Plan

Credit WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

Representatives from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) will be in Knoxville Monday to get public input about the ways in which the state should handle solid, industrial and hazardous waste.  The agency is in the process of creating a new solid waste management plan that will guide the state through the year 2025.  Today’s meeting at TDEC’s Knoxville Field Office will kick off a second round of public meetings throughout the state. 

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6:00 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Update: Deadly Bus Crash Not The Fault Of Drivers Or Equipment

The accident scene on Interstate 40 in Jefferson County, October 2, 2013.
Credit Paul Efird,

After months of investigation, the Tennessee Highway Patrol has concluded an October 2013 bus crash on I-40 East of Knoxville was caused by neither negligence nor driver incompetence.

Eight people were killed on October 2, when a church bus owned by the Front Street Baptist Church of Statesville, N.C. crossed the median and crashed into an SUV and a tractor-trailer.  The driver of the bus and five of his passengers died, as did the driver of the tractor-trailer and a passenger in the SUV.  Fourteen others were injured.

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Workplace Safety
2:44 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Tenn. Report Claims 78 Work-related Deaths in 2013


A report being released this weekend claims 78 people in Tennessee were killed in workplace-related accidents and incidents during 2013.

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2014-2015 Knoxville Budget
3:19 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Rogero Proposes Tax Increase In Latest Budget

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero addresses a crowd Wednesday during the unveiling of her 2014-2015 operating budget.
Credit WUOT News, Brandon Hollingsworth

  The last time Knoxvillians saw a property tax increase, current governor Bill Haslam was the mayor asking for it.  It was 2004, Haslam's first year in office.

Ten years later, Haslam's successor says rising expenses are forcing her to ask for an increase.  At a Wednesday afternoon event to unveil her 2014-2015 budget, Madeline Rogero said she will ask City Council to approve a $.34 increase for every $100 of assessed value.  That means the owner of a $100,000 home will pay approximately $85 in additional taxes next year.

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10:37 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Nashville Could Be Long Shot To Host Democratic Convention

Credit Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp.

Nashville city officials found out this week their city is one of 15 being considered as a possible host site for the 2016 Democratic National Convention.  But Tennessee's political leanings suggest the Music City may be a long shot.

On Monday, mayors in Nashville and 14 other U.S. cities received a request for proposals from DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz after organizers trimmed their initial list of choices to 15 cities.  Each city has until June 6 to present its proposal to the DNC.  

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Donnie Tyndall
5:06 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

New UT Basketball Coach Promises Clean Program, Committed Students

For University of Tennessee sports fans weary of an athletic program plagued by NCAA violations and player arrests in recent years, Donnie Tyndall’s words must have come as some measure of comfort.

“Our guys will handle themselves in the community in a first-class manner,” Tyndall proclaimed at Tuesday’s press conference, during which he was introduced as the next head coach of the men’s basketball team.  “We’re not going to have thugs, we’re not going to have renegades as part of our program.  It won’t happen on my watch.”

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1:19 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Dialogue: Social Media, Your Job & You

Credit WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

With so much tweeting, posting, pinning and snap-chatting going on these days, it might be wise to step back and look at how that all that very public information reflects on you--- and your employer.  How much say does your boss have in what you do on-line?  Knoxville attorney Chris McCarty advises companies and individuals about their social media rights and he's Matt Shafer Powell's guest on this segment of Dialogue.

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Bruce Poston
2:01 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Well-known Knoxville Attorney Arrested On Drug Charges

Credit Knox County Sheriff's Department

Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation arrested prominent defense attorney Bruce Poston this morning at the City-County Building.   Poston is being charged with illegally delivering painkillers on two separate occasions to the wife of a former client.  He’s also charged with one attempted delivery.

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Magnolia Avenue
4:30 am
Mon April 14, 2014

City To Roll Out Latest Vision For Magnolia Avenue This Week

A 2009 architect's rendering for one section of Magnolia Ave. near Winona St.

Knoxville city officials and consultants will unveil their latest designs for the Magnolia Avenue Streetscapes Project on Wednesday, part of an effort to revitalize an area that’s suffered from years of deterioration and neglect.

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3:59 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Tenn. House Passes Weaker Version Of Anti-Meth Bill

Credit WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

If the Tennessee General Assembly had passed Governor Bill Haslam’s version of the Anti-Meth Production Act, it would have created some of the toughest pseudoephedrine and ephedrine purchase restrictions in the country.  But pressure from the pharmaceutical lobby and others who claim the bill would inconvenience law-abiding pseudoephedrine users convinced the governor to lower his expectations.

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