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.


2014 Fall Fund Drive
1:53 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

WUOT's Whitney Dodds Completes The Habanero Challenge

Credit Cindy Hassil

Click here to see video proof that Whitney Dodds did indeed ingest a habanero pepper in response to a listener challenge.

Pet Pledge Day
12:13 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

What Your Pets Aren't Telling You

 Your pets are an important part of your life.  But what do they want us to know?  What's on their minds?   In honor of Pet Pledge Day and with apologies to Buzzfeed:


If we receive 350 donations by 8:00 pm Wednesday, Dream Katcher Lodge will donate $1000 to the HABIT program.  Please help us reach this important goal!

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WUOT History
10:15 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Pioneers & Engineers- The WUOT Story

"Pioneers & Engineers- The WUOT Story" takes you back 65 years to that pivotal moment in 1949 when WUOT began broadcasting  from the University of Tennessee.  This documentary takes us on a journey from those early days to the present, introducing us to the voices, ideas, controversies and opinions that make WUOT the radio station it is today.  

"Pioneers & Engineers" was produced by Matt Shafer Powell and Leslie Snow and originally aired on October 27, 2009 to mark the station's 60th anniversary.  

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Edward R. Murrow Award
9:04 am
Tue October 7, 2014

WUOT Receives National Murrow Award In NYC Ceremony

The WUOT logo lights up the stage at Monday's 2014 Edward R. Murrow Awards at the Marriott Marquis in New York
Leslie Snow

Representatives from WUOT were on-hand Monday October 6 to receive a National Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism from the Radio-Television Digital News Association. NBC's Lester Holt presented the award to Director of News Content Matt Shafer Powell for Best Documentary in the Small Market Radio Division. The winning entry "I'm Still Here: My HIV Life" was produced by Powell, Leslie Snow and Todd Steed, who composed the music.

9:57 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Dialogue: Gay Marriage In Tennessee

Val Tanco, left, and Sophy Jesty with their daughter Emilia

Val Tanco and Sophy Jesty were married three years ago in New York, a state where their same-sex marriage is legally recognized.  Then they moved to Tennessee, a state where it’s not.  Their legal challenge to Tennessee’s gay marriage law is part of a national movement changing the conversation about

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10:22 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

What Do You Think?

WUOT is participating in a research project from the University of South Carolina, and we need your input. The study is designed to learn more about people who listen to NPR programs. Findings may help determine if a sense of community among listeners affects support for public radio, and can provide direction on how stations can be more involved in the communities we serve.

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4:30 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Chattanooga Makes Move Toward Commuter Rail


City planners in Chattanooga say a commuter light rail system would connect its downtown center with the airport and some of the area’s underserved neighborhoods.  The result, they claim, is a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly city with lower emissions and more access to jobs.

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Attorney General
3:16 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Supreme Court Selects Republican AG After Contentious Year


When conservatives in Tennessee failed to unseat three Democratic Supreme Court justices in a statewide election last month, Democratic Attorney General Bob Cooper thought he might have a chance at another eight-year term.

He was wrong.

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Criminal Law
3:41 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

East Tenn Man Loses Appeal In Ammunition Possession Case

Credit Chattanooga Times Free Press

A convicted felon who was sent to prison for 15 years for possessing seven shotgun shells has failed in his bid to have the sentence overturned.

Edward Lamar Young of Hixson says the shells were in a chest of drawers he brought from his neighbor’s house while helping her clear out some of her late husband’s belongings.  Young says he eventually discovered them, but didn’t think anything of it and put them away so his children wouldn’t find them.

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Veteran Suicides
2:21 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

State Officials At Loss To Explain Increase In Veteran Suicides


 Last year, 214 military veterans in Tennessee took their own lives, 17 more than the previous year. 

It’s the first time the total number of veteran suicides has eclipsed 200 since the state began tracking it in 1990.

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