Chris Bolt

News Director

Maybe I was destined for a career in radio when I built my first stereo receiver from a Heathkit box…then later spent time running wires over beer-stained floors for local bands in Colorado bars.  I remember becoming enamored with Public Radio's story-telling style covering an exiled music group that had come to Syracuse from El Salvador.  The piece involved interviewing through an interpreter and mixing in the music with a strongly-political story of death squads.  Over the next 23 years I’ve enjoyed covering the issues, people, events, challenges and accomplishments of Central New York. 

I came to Syracuse to finish a Broadcast Journalism degree at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School.  I’ve worked at WAER since 1990 and truly enjoy our mission of educating and engaging the community, while training aspiring journalists and broadcasters.  I’m passionate about the area’s lifestyle and efforts to improve its vitality.   When not on a story, in a studio or editing and mentoring students, I can probably be found outside.  I love Central New York’s natural areas and waterways, as well as golfing and biking opportunities.  

Ways to Connect

Syracuse Stage has announced the line-up of plays they’ll produce for the 2018 – 2019 season, including a popular farce, an original play with a local, historical connection, a holiday musical and an updated Jane Austen work.

WAER’s Chris Bolt and Stephen Shepherd of ‘Stage Right Radio’ find out what audiences can expect from Syracuse Stage’s Artistic Director Bob Hupp and Associate Kyle Bass. 

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Who knew crunching data might result in better ways to keep Syracuse streets clear of snow? The City of Syracuse announced the winners of this year’s Plowing through Data Hackathon Wednesday. The city partnered with AT&T and Syracuse University’s iSchool to call on the community to analyze Syracuse’s snowplow data and create new technologies to better manage the snowfall. Mayor Ben Walsh says they weren’t making the most of the data collected by the plow’s GPS software.

Scott Willis/WAER News

Advocates for criminal justice reform in Onondaga County want the system to be more fair. They’re concerned with how people of color and people without resources are treated.  When people are a waiting trial, Retired judge Langston McKinney says many find themselves locked up unnecessarily.  He argues judges don’t always understand bail. 

Lileana Pearson / WAER News

Claudia Tenney was in New Hartford, New York this past weekend to announce her re-election bid for Congress. She was unable to escape some of the recent controversy surrounding her as she launched her new campaign.  The freshman Congress member represents the 22nd district of New York that includes the Utica and Binghamton areas.

At the event, Tenney voiced her intentions to make the tax plan permanent, roll back government regulations, and support community public health and veterans.

Songwriter/Musician Jimmy Webb, along with Glen Campbell's wife, Kim, and daughter, Ashley spoke with Live Space Entertainment's Tom Honan and WAER's Chris Bolt about Glen's music, the Alzheimer's disease he struggled with, and the work they're doing for awareness about the disease.  Jimmy Webb brought his performance "The Glen Campbell Years" to Syracuse.

Chris Bolt/WAER News

WAER’s City Limits Project – investigating poverty in Syracuse turned its focus to education.  How is poverty impacting schools and adult education?  And how much is the basic mission of these institutions changing as they have to deal with the effects of poverty in our community? 

(Full Audio of the panel discussion below)

When you’re inside a school as students are heading to class, the energy and the expectation should be that learning is about to take place to enrich the students.  

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The same day Florida High School students made news for their lobbying on gun control, protestors took to the streets of Syracuse also demanding action.  Demonstrators at Congress Member John Katko’s office had a large check on which the payment amount read ‘Thoughts and Prayers’. 

William Happy with the group Swing Left compares campaign donations with the ‘value of good wishes’ as a response to gun violence, such as the Florida School Shooting of last week.

Scott Willis/WAER News

SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry biology students are researching this year’s most compelling breakthroughs in evolutionary research, such as: fossil finds, species endangerment, and chemical resistance. Environmental forest and biology professor Rebecca Rundell says that almost 200 students have made posters revolving around Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

John Smith / WAER News

Some Central New York restaurant owners and employees are lining up against a plan to make tipped workers, such as waiters, into full minimum wage employees.  The New York State Restaurant Association is calling on local businesses to oppose Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal.  It would eliminate the “tip credit” that allows employers to pay a lower wage to workers who get tips.

Melissa Fleischut of the Restaurant Association says eliminating the credit would hurt workers and the industry.

A Syracuse University Vice Chancellor told the Senate Armed Services Committee this week that the federal government should do more to support military families … or it might limit future military service.   Director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families Mike Haynie testified that failing to provide enough economic and educational assistance for military families is a threat to national security.