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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WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

This episode of Dialogue is devoted to WUOT's Tenn Words project . Host Matt Shafer Powell sits down with Ragan Schriver from the University of Tennessee College of Social Work. They'll go through some of the 650+ responses we've received to our Tenn Words question “What keeps you up at night?” Some are funny, some are weird and some will break your heart. And special guest Jess Mador has some exciting developments to tell you about. Submit your own response to our Tenn Words question here ....

Samuel Barber's musical interpretation of the James Agee prose poem Knoxville: Summer of 1915 is considered one of Barber's master works and is especially popular here in East Tennessee. Prepare for the sequel. This Friday, the University of Tennessee Symphony Orchestra will debut Knoxville: Summer of 2015 , composed by Oak Ridge native Ellen Reid. Reid says there are some thematic and instrumental similarities between Barber's piece and her composition. "What I wanted to make sure," she says...

It’s the last day of WUOT’s fall fund drive, and we want to thank everyone who has supported the station thus far! But if you haven’t pledged yet, the question is, “Why?” Are you waiting to pledge during your favorite Saturday morning program? Is opera your favorite? Are you still trying to decide what you want to give? We’ve been telling you all week why we think WUOT is worthy of your support. And if you enjoy NPR News, classical music, fun programs like Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! or...

GOP Presidential front-runner Donald Trump is firm in his conviction that he will win over Hispanics in America, even while his approval numbers among the country's largest minority tend to hover near "you're kidding, right?" Say what you want, but Trump's suggestion that the Mexican government is sending its worst to the United States can't be called pandering. Given the somewhat disconcerting prospect of a Trump presidency among some Latinos, it's not surprising that his name showed up on...

Since we began asking East Tennesseans the question "What keeps you up at night?", we've received a handful of responses that refer to the 24/7 challenges involved in taking care of others who are suffering. Ryan Jackson learned first-hand how difficult it can be when he dropped out of college to help take care of his ailing grandmother. But he also learned it can be a rewarding, enriching experience. You can hear Brittany Crocker's entire interview with Ryan Jackson on Episode 2 of the Tenn...

We're excited to launch our Spanish-language version of WUOT's Tenn Words project this Sunday September 27 at the Hola Festival in downtown Knoxville. If you're in the area to enjoy the food and music, please stop by and say " hola " and fill out one of the Tenn Words forms (there will be English-language forms available too). As always, you can answer the question "What keeps you up at night?" online . You can also see what your neighbors here in East Tennessee are thinking about on our...

WUOT's Tenn Words project asks East Tennesseans to answer the following question in ten words or less: "What keeps you up at night?" While some of our 500+ responses include the maximum allowable verbiage (ten words) and others go well beyond the limit ( Express Lane Cheaters Unite! ), the number of words on a handful of responses fall somewhere between zero and two. I'm not sure why, but I find these short, to-the-point responses rather intriguing. Perhaps it's because they represent an...

WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

Nuclear science has been good to John Boyle. The retired chemist spent his entire career in Oak Ridge, learning about the effects of nuclear radiation and how it impacts the environment. Now 97, he thinks of himself as lucky. "I enjoyed my work, frankly," he says. "A lot of people would probably find it boring, but I was always anxious to get back to work and find out how my results were turning out." Still,there's a part of him that wishes the secrets of atomic energy had never been...

Part of what fuels Abigail Langham's fascination with the potential of the human voice is its perpetuity. The University of Tennessee vocal coach and acting teacher compares her study of speech and its regional and historical differences to an endless ball of wool. "I feel like I'm never going to get to the end," she says, "and I'm never going to know everything." The native of Birmingham, England moved to the U.S. last summer and has emerged as a sort of "accent guru" in Knoxville, guiding...

Pat Summitt may have been the most visible face of the Lady Vols , but for 28 years, Joan Cronan was the engine that moved the women's athletic program at the University of Tennessee. A tireless ambassador for women's athletics, Cronan built the Lady Vols program into one of the most recognizable and respected in the country. Now retired, Cronan has written a book "Sport is Life with the Volume Turned Up". On this installment of Dialogue, Joan Cronan joins host Matt Shafer Powell to reflect...

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