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Matt Power: 1974 - 2014

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Journalist Matt Power died on March 10, 2014 while on assignment in Uganda.  Much has been written over the past week about Matt’s wonderful writing. Early on in his career, Matt made radio and we here at WNYC Radio were lucky to work with him. This week, we’ve been delving into the archives to pull out those pieces and we wanted to share them with all of you. These pieces aired on The Next Big Thing, hosted by Dean Olsher.

We loved working with Matt. We loved his ideas. We loved his willingness to go anywhere. We loved the tape he brought back from his adventures. And most of all, we loved his voice. His laconic, perceptive, at times pushy, at times silly, New England voice. There isn’t another one like it. We mourn the fact that we can’t work with him again. 

Amanda Aronczyk, Chris Bannon, Emily Botein, Sean Collins, Catherine Fenollosa, Curtis Fox, Michael Kavanagh, Matt Lieber, Pejk Malinkovski, Dean Olsher, Ben Shapiro, Laura Starecheski, Julie Subrin.

Holy Soul

For many teens coming of age in the 1970s, the Beat poets served as rebel heroes. Matt Power was no different. Then he met Allen Ginsberg. In the flesh. Power’s recollections first appeared in an essay in the new magazine Heeb. (June 2002)

Flying Pumpkins

Every year in Millsboro, Delaware, on the first Saturday after Halloween, a fierce competition gets underway, involving powerful instruments of propulsion and… some very hearty produce. Contributor Matt Power investigates this unusual ritual.  (November 2002)


Dumpster Diving

Every day of the year, New York City generates 26-thousand tons of garbage. As your mother would say, the amount of food thrown away could feed an army. And come closing time every day, that's exactly what happens. Matt Power follows a band of urban hunter-gatherers into the dumpsters of lower Manhattan. (January 2003)

Indian Traffic

An audio postcard from Matt Power, who finds enlightenment in the chaotic choreography of New Delhi’s perpetual traffic jam. (February 2003)

City Pawns

Living in the city, one often feels like a pawn at the mercy of crowds, subway conductors, the noisy neighbors upstairs. Last weekend, on New York's Lower East Side, this metaphor took on new life when a few dozen people were pawns - and rooks, knights, and queens. They were pieces in a life-size game of urban chess conceived by artist Sharilyn Neidhard. Matt Power moved among them as they took orders by cell phone from two players at a remote site. (May 2003)

Train Hopping

The voices of modern day hobos collected while hopping the freight lines from Portland Oregon to Chicago. (May 2003)

Drive-In, Drive Out

Ever wonder what it would be like to spend the whole night at the drive-in?  Matt Power did. He went to the movies, and to bed, at the Fairlee Motel and Drive-In Theater in Fairlee, VT. (August 2003)

Paper Work

The order came from Deitch Projects: 125 flowers, each made from 48 individually folded pieces of paper, to be delivered to the SoHo gallery in less than a week. Making origami under deadline and for pay – is it art, zen, or hell? Matt Power offers his participatory observations. (February 2004)

A Free Ride

Over the tool shed, under the elm tree, and around the rose bushes - all in 30 seconds. It’s the “Blue Flash,” a homemade roller coaster John Ivers constructed in his backyard. Matt Power visits Ivers in rural Indiana to find out what kind of man builds his own roller coaster. (January 2006)