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.

Ways to Connect

Five Guns

Nov 15, 2016

Few issues in Tennessee generate the kind of passion and intensity as gun ownership.  For many, a gun is a swift and deadly instrument of mayhem.  Others, however, simply see a gun as a tool, only as dangerous as the hand holding it. 

During the week of November 28, 2016, WUOT presented five East Tennessee stories.  In each, a gun played a significant and pivotal role in the life of the storyteller.   

Scroll down to learn more about gun ownership in Tennessee.


To say the least, it's been an interesting campaign season, resulting in an election night for the ages.  Even here in East Tennessee, one of the state's most closely-watched races has yet to be resolved.  As of midnight, Republican incumbent Eddie Smith led Democratic challenger Gloria Johnson by a mere 154 votes in the race for the 13th Tennessee House seat.  That race may not be resolved until all provisional ballots have been counted.  

Here are the winners from  some of Tuesday's Tennessee races:

On this episode of Dialogue, our guest is Knoxville poet Marilyn Kallet.   For years, Kallet has been teaching others how to use the magic of language to help them overcome personal trauma.  She takes her poetry workshops to victims of domestic violence, to children who have endured various forms of heartbreak and loss and even to a women's prison in Oklahoma.  She joins host Matt Shafer Powell to talk about the healing power of words and what she's learned from watching others discover it.  

WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

This Saturday's highly-anticipated football game between the University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech is generating a lot of excitement.  Barring anything unforeseen, the game at Bristol Speedway is expected to shatter NCAA football attendance records.

The game was originally scheduled to be played in Knoxville.  As a result, merchants who rely heavily on game traffic during home-game weekends are preparing for weak sales.