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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TVA
3:51 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Study Advises Against TVA Sale

Credit WUOT News, Matt Moon

A study by the financial services firm Lazard suggests the federal government’s sale of the Tennessee Valley Authority could be expensive, disruptive and current TVA customers might end up paying more for electricity.

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Crime
4:30 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Report: Crime Rate Falling In Tennessee Schools

Credit cato.org

An annual survey of crime at Tennessee’s elementary and secondary schools shows a significant drop in the number of crimes reported over the past three years.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s 2013 School Crime Report suggests a total of 9741 crimes were committed at Tennessee schools in 2013, down from 12,466 in 2011.  That represents a 21.9 percent decline over the three-year period. 

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Energy
4:30 am
Fri May 30, 2014

The TVA’s New Coal Strategy: Culture Change Or Simple Economics?

Credit WUOT News, Matt Moon

  

  For more than 30 years, Stephen Smith has been a thorn firmly planted into the side of the Tennessee Valley Authority.  The Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy has never been shy about holding the giant utility accountable, especially when it comes to the TVA’s dismal record on air quality

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Waterborne Illnesses
11:00 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Threat Of Sickness Increases As East Tennesseans Return To the Water

  As East Tennesseans begin to head back into the water for the summer swimming season, the Tennessee Department of Health suggests they be aware of some of the dangers of swimming in infected lakes, streams and pools.

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Marijuana
2:27 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Vanderbilt Survey Confirms Changing Attitudes About Pot

A study released Wednesday by Vanderbilt University's Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions finds Tennesseans are becoming more open to the idea of decriminalizing marijuana, especially if it's used for medical reasons.

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Hate Crime
4:30 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Report Shows Increase In Hate Crimes-- Or Does It?

Credit WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation report on hate crimes in Tennessee released Tuesday shows the number of victims victims rose from 297 to 348 in 2013, an increase of 17 percent from 2012. 

But a look into the statistics shows the change may not be as dramatic or disheartening as it seems. 

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Tennessee Promise
4:11 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Haslam Signs Tuition Bill At Knox Ceremony

Credit WUOT News, Matt Moon

Governor Bill Haslam held a ceremonial signing of his Tennessee Promise law at Knoxville's Fulton High School today, a law that will provide free community college tuition for thousands of Tennessee students.  

Tennessee Promise will eliminate tuition costs for Tennessee high school students who graduate and immediately enroll at one of the state's community colleges.  

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Historic Preservation
2:35 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Fort Sanders Once Again Tops Endangered Properties List

Credit WUOT News, Matt Moon

  The Knoxville preservation group Knox Heritage has once again placed the Fort Sanders Neighborhood at the top of its annual list of endangered historic properties.  The Fragile Fifteen list released today highlights several Fort Sanders homes and the former IGA grocery store on 18th Street, all of which could be demolished to make way for expansion projects at the University of Tennessee and Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center.     

The neighborhood, located just north of UT’s campus, also topped the 2013 list.

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Measles
1:15 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

State Investigating Five Measles Cases In Tenn.

This government file photograph shows a skin rash after three days of measles infection.
Credit cdc.gov

  The federal government declared measles eradicated in 2000.  But news out of Nashville today would suggest the disease is anything but gone.

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Rabies in Tennessee
4:17 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Rabies Rare In Tenn., But Still A Dangerous Threat

Skunks and raccoons are among the most common carriers of rabies in Tennessee.
Credit hswlt.org

  The warmer spring weather is encouraging more Tennesseans and their pets to go outside.  That increases the possibility that either could come into contact with rabies

Although the deadly virus is nearly non-existent in people and domestic animals in Tennessee, it does exist in the wild.  Tennessee Department of Health officials say 37 animals tested positive for rabies in 2013 and all were wild. 

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