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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University of Tennessee
1:03 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

UT To Raise Its Minimum Wage

Credit WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

The University of Tennessee announced today it will raise the starting minimum wage for its workers by $.50 per hour in January, with another $.50 raise to follow six months later. 

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Psychology
4:30 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Can Gut-Level Attitudes Predict Marital Success?

Credit magicalday.com

Ask a newlywed couple what they think about each other and chances are, they’ll present a rosy picture.  That’s not a surprise, since cultural norms suggest newlyweds should act as if they’re head-over-heels in love with each other.

But for some couples, it’s just that—an act.

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Men's Issues
4:00 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Dialogue: Today's Man

Credit comicvine.com

What does it mean to be a man in the year 2013?  How does today’s man adjust to changing attitudes about sexuality, gender identity and masculinity?  How does it change the way he interacts with his family and circle of friends?  What’s the relationship between masculinity and violence, fatherhood, feminism and intimacy?  On this episode of Dialogue, Matt Shafer Powell speaks with Roane State Community College Psychology Professor Jim Doyle, who has spent decades researching the roles of men in American society. 

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Cell Phones
12:07 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Alexander Blasts Effort To Lift Cell Phone Ban

Credit npr.org

If Lamar Alexander is conflicted about the FCC's rule banning the use of cell phones on commercial flights, he hides it well.

In comments released Tuesday, Tennessee's senior senator vowed to introduce legislation to keep the ban in place if the FCC decides to remove it. 

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School Closings
4:35 am
Wed November 27, 2013

School Closings

Tuesday, April 29:  

McMinn County schools are closed today because of storm damage.

Rossini Festival
3:41 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

New Knoxville Street Fair Policy Won’t Affect Rossini Festival

Credit cityofknoxville.org

Huge street fairs can present all kinds of logistical and public safety problems.  So for the last few years, the city of Knoxville has been turning down requests for those types of events on Gay Street. The one obvious exception is the annual Rossini Festival, the street carnival that shuts down a large portion of Gay Street to accommodate as many as 100,000 visitors.

A new agreement between Rossini organizers Knoxville Opera and the city guarantees the festival will continue to be the one exception.

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Same-sex benefits
7:56 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Same-sex Benefits Ordinance Clears Final Hurdle in Chattanooga

Credit WRCBTV.com

With a 5-to-3 vote Tuesday night, Chattanooga city council approved an ordinance on second reading that officially makes the city the third in Tennessee to extend city employee benefits to unmarried domestic partners, either gay or straight.  The ordinance also updates Chattanooga’s discrimination clause to prohibit the city from firing workers based on sexual orientation or gender identity and protects them from workplace harassment. 

After months of fiery public debate, the council approved the first reading of the ordinance last week by a single vote.

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Red Light Cameras
10:44 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Oak Ridge Red Light Scam Turns Out To Be Fake

Credit WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

In a press alert sent to local media Monday night, Oak Ridge Police Chief James Akagi described an email phishing scam in which the recipient was informed of a red light camera violation and given a false hyperlink to see photos of the violation and pay the fine.  Akagi’s alert suggested those receiving the email should immediately delete it.

As it turns out, no such scam existed. 

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Alexander Inn
2:32 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Oak Ridge’s Alexander Inn Returning To Former Glory

A postcard of Oak Ridge's historic Alexander Inn
East Tennessee Preservation Alliance

The first time Rick Dover stepped foot into Oak Ridge’s Alexander Inn, he fell through the floor.  “It was completely rotted and it had leaking roofs and windows and a complete lack of any care or maintenance,” he says.  “It was leaning and rotting and falling and it would not have gone much longer.” 

Dover’s company, Family Pride Corporation, is now responsible for renovating the abandoned, dilapidated building and turning it into an assisted living facility.  Dover says he hopes to open the facility in the summer of 2014. 

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Dante
11:11 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Dante loves public radio on WUOT! Do you?

Dante, with two of his best friends--- Chie, his BFF from Japan, and his tongue.

Call us today at 974-5500 or donate on-line at wuot.org!

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