Matt Shafer Powell

Small Station Representative

Matt Shafer Powell is the Director of News Content at WUOT in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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

This summer, I had the opportunity to meet one of the lions of our industry, a revered pioneer of our craft who has, in recent years, taken his treasure chest of knowledge, experiences and talents to academia.  Each year, his students emerge with a solid set of employable skills and a strong sense of journalistic integrity.  

Within minutes of meeting him, I mentioned one of his students had applied for an internship at our station and I had been impressed with her.  Unfortunately, I told him, she had taken advantage of another opportunity.

"Tornadoes-- Preparation and Response" is the first in our series of free PRNDI webinars on natural and man-made disasters.  This webinar discusses the basic science behind one of nature's most destructive forces and explores your newsroom's obligations and concerns in the event a tornado touches down in your community.