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

One Syracuse mayoral candidate has a vision for the city’s west side to address poverty and improve education. Syracuse native Alfonso Davis is seeking the Democratic Party nomination.  Davis has made a priority of easing socio-economic troubles in poorer neighborhoods, coming from poverty himself.  He empathizes with frustrations people on the west side might feel.

Chris Bolt/WAER News

What’s it like to drive an all-electric vehicle?  What are the impacts – positive and negative – on the environment with such vehicles?  How much does it cost…all things considered? 

WAER’s Chris Bolt had a chance to answer these questions first-hand during a test drive with a Chevrolet Bolt E-V this week.  Chris’s quest was to find out if an all-electric vehicle could be your only car.

Older all-electric vehicles seemed o-k for people with short commutes – a 40- or 50-mile total battery range was fine to get to and from work, maybe a trip to the store.  With extended range vehicles, maybe things have advanced to really fit your lifestyle…so it was time to hit the road…

One concern many people have about owning an electrical vehicle is, could it be your main or only vehicle.  And we’re going on a road trip to test that out.  Obviously the question is a bit different depending on your lifestyle.  So we have a trip planned to go to Old Forge, which is 95 miles away, and we’re leaving with an estimated charge of 240 miles on the Chevy Bolt.  This is a long-range EV, and we’re going to see just how well the mileage tacks during a trip like this.  We might be able to relieve people’s biggest concern about owning an all-electric, which is range anxiety.

The Chevy Bolt E-V I’ve been driving indicates 240 miles on a full charge…you can get a little more by using the regenerative braking, or a little less driving aggressively or uphill.   The mileage takes a hit in cold weather and when you use the heater…but there is a system that keeps the battery warm and safe in our cold winters.

So we have arrived at Old Forge and the mileage meter says we have 133 miles of charge left, after traveling the 95 miles from Syracuse.  That means we have plenty of power to get back home.  It did use up a little more of that estimated mileage than we actually traveled.  

For long-distance travel, of course you’d need to charge along the way.  During this test drive I was surprised at the time it takes to charge – you get 25 to 30 miles per hour of charging at a commercial level 2 charging station.  Level 3 chargers would give you about 160 miles of charge in an hour…but there are only a few out there.

Karen Dewitt

The legislature finally ended its 2017 legislative session, after the Assembly voted overnight on a privately negotiated omnibus bill, and the Senate finally finished on Thursday afternoon. The messy process drew condemnation from both sides of the aisle.

Both Democrats and Republicans condemned an end of session that included the governor calling an extraordinary session of the legislature to deal with expiring laws, private meetings between Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders, and rank and file lawmakers kept in the dark about the details.

Chris Bolt/WAER News

A State rebate and longer-range batteries might make owning an electric vehicle more appealing in New York.   WAER’s Chris Bolt is testing out what “A Day in the Life” of an E-V is like.

Chris Bolt / WAER News

When you have to get around Syracuse – to go to work, run an errand or go out to have fun – are you aware of the best ways to do it? A group of researchers at the Syracuse Center of Excellence has just finished a study looking at sustainable transportation methods. Syracuse University Assistant Professor of Architecture Tarek Rakha found that at least for two methods of transportation, Syracuse has good potential but isn’t taking full advantage.

Tom Honan

Music fans who go to see Bob Dylan Sunday at the Lakeview Amphitheater might very well hear songs written by Syracuse native Son Jimmy Van Heusen.  Dylan has been playing music from Van Heusen’s heyday, the Great American Songbook, on recent albums and in recent concerts. 

  (Full Interview Below)

Brook Babcock is Van Heusen’s great nephew and oversees the music catalog.  He says Dylan has recorded 10 Van Heusen songs n recent albums, 8 on the latest release called Triplicate, a three-record vinyl set.

Syracuse has a deep rooted Irish heritage and a long history of celebrating it. The Contemporary Irish Film Festival gives Syracuse natives new ways to explore their Irish background. Founder and Director, Micha Crook, says parades and cultural festivals are not the only avenues to embrace their culture.

(provided photo)

Onondaga Nation parents and tribal leaders pulled their children out of the Nation School today in an ongoing dispute with the Lafayette School district.  Nation members say their council is continually ignored…most recently in a hiring decision for a new principal.  The district chose a principal, bypassing teacher Simone Thornton, who has been training for the position.  

Chris Bolt/WAER News / WAER FM

Pride week in Syracuse has activities and an overall theme to raise awareness and acceptance of the LGBT community.  But not all recognition and progress on equality is the same. 

Scott Willis/WAER News

The former Excellus Building on South Warren Street in Syracuse marked a milestone today as Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul cut the ribbon on its transformation into a mixed-use space called Icon Tower.

“This project, vacant for nine years, sort of taunting people as they walk by, saying the best was in the past.  And then you have true believers who say, ‘no, this building can be part of the downtown comeback’.”

The state chipped in $2.3 million for the $20 million project. Developer Grazi Zazzara says they had no trouble leasing the 89 apartments…