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.


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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US News & World Report
1:28 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

UT Falls In National Rankings; Officials ‘Not Disappointed”

Credit WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

  The University of Tennessee in Knoxville has fallen three spots in US News and World Report’s annual rankings of the nation’s public universities.  This year’s report places UT in a tie with the University of Oregon at #50.  In the National Universities list, which includes private universities, UT slipped five spots to #106.

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Domestic Violence
4:13 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Tennessee Still Among Most Deadly States For Women In Relationships

The rate at which women are murdered by men in Tennessee (blue), compared to the national average (red) over the last ten years. (Dates refer to the year the report was released)
Credit WUOT News/ Violence Policy Center

In 2012, 53 women were killed by men in Tennessee.

The average victim was 40 years old.

She was white, but 21 of her fellow victims were black.

She was most likely to have been shot with a gun by a man she knew.  In fact, none of the 53 women were killed by strangers.  She was romantically involved with him at the time of her murder, or she had been at one time.   Her murder was probably the result of an argument.

In Tennessee, it’s a familiar tale.

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Lost Highway
4:30 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Lost Highway: The Life And Music Of Hank Williams

Actor/Singer/Songwriter Peter Oyloe portrays iconic singer Hank Williams in the Clarence Brown Theatre production of "Lost Highway"
Credit Elizabeth Aaron

The late country singer and songwriter Hank Williams has a special place in Knoxville lore.  After all, Knoxville was the last place Williams was seen alive before his mysterious, premature death at the age of 29.  Tonight, "Lost Highway", the story of Hank Williams' life and music, comes to the stage at the Clarence Brown Theatre.

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