Scott Willis

Host, Reporter, Producer

I’ve always been enamored with the intimacy of radio.  It’s so personal.  It forces you to listen…and listen only.  No visual distractions.  I grew up listening to mostly top 40 radio in Detroit, with no shortage of entertaining DJ’s.  As a teenager, I discovered the area’s all news station.  I loved knowing what was going on, and the intensity with which they told stories.  I often wondered what it would be like to be the first to know what was happening, and then tell others.  Maybe that’s why I pursued a career in news. 

I would go on to serve as an intern at that all-news station, and it was amazing and maybe a little overwhelming to see what it took to put out a constant stream of news.  But something was missing.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I actually discovered Detroit’s public radio station at my alma mater.  What a difference!  You had time to write and tell engaging, meaningful stories, to be creative, all without the pressure to constantly crank out the news.  Quality over quantity.  That’s when I knew public radio was for me.  I was hooked.

I would hone my skills on and off for almost three years at WDET as an intern under the tutelage of a patient Assistant News Director. I produced daily stories for newscasts, but also was given the privilege of producing long-form features on topics that interested me, and that people knew very little about.  Now THAT was cool.  Right up my alley.  What budding reporter could ask for more?

I landed here in Syracuse in June 2001.  Today, I’ve come full circle, and now teach the craft to more than a dozen student reporters per week.  We work hard to choose informative stories, find the most engaging sound, and edit copy for clarity and accuracy. 

Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and little boy.  We like to take walks, travel, and read.  When I can, I’ll hop on my bike for a quick ride.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the honor and privilege of bringing WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners the news of the day during All Things Considered.  Thanks for listening.

Ways to Connect

Scott Willis / WAER News

Much of the $50 million  transformation of the state fairgrounds is beginning to wrap up, and Governor Andrew Cuomo stopped by Wednesday to take a look.  The governor also announced the launch of an effort to look into privatizing fairgrounds operations.

Cuomo says for decades, the fairgrounds has been a metaphor for Upstate New York.  It just wasn’t getting the investment it deserved.  Now, that’s changing.

uanews.arizona.edu

Opponents of nuclear power are asking Central New Yorkers to register their opinions at hearings Wednesday as the state prepares to include nuclear energy as part of its “clean energy standard.”  Some are worried too many exceptions are being made for a struggling industry that should not be defined as “clean.”

Perry-Castaneda library / lib.utexas.edu

The Director of National Security Studies at Syracuse University says the full lifting of the arms embargo against Vietnam is long overdue.   WAER brings the unique perspective of a retired army colonel who served in South Vietnam.

Bill Smullen hopes the diplomatic overture is the first of many steps that could also lead to a stronger economic and defense relationship with the country.

"Having had two tours in Vietnam,  when I returned from my second tour, I never anticipated that any time soon we would have any kind of a relationship with Vietnam."

commons.wikimedia.org

Immigrant students can now attend high school in Utica after a settlement agreement was reached with the district.  The suit Tuyizere vs. Utica was filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union and Legal Services of Central New York last April on behalf of six students who were repeatedly denied enrollment in Proctor high school after months of letters, phone calls, and threats of litigation.  Legal Services staff attorney Susan Young says the students had been placed in alternative programs in violation of state law that guarantees a free public education to anyone under 21.

Scott Willis / WAER News

After more than five years of planning, the Carrier Park Field of Dreams in DeWitt is ready to hold a grand opening celebration Saturday after construction on the first phase of the park was completed last fall.  Dom Cambareri has been waiting for this moment since the idea to build a fully-accessible, multi-sports park was first born about 10 years ago.

"This is the firsst phase of the dream become reality," Cambareri said.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Governor Cuomo’s statewide task force on heroin and opioid abuse stopped in Syracuse Wednesday to hear testimony from area treatment experts on what’s needed to address the epidemic.  The discussion revealed there are significant gaps in treatment.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  An 11-month investigation by Syracuse police, State police, and the State Attorney General’s Office culminated on Tuesday in the indictment of 72 people on charges of operating two drug distribution rings. Authorities believe they’ve disrupted major supply chains for heroin and cocaine.

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

Onondaga County Controller Bob Antonacci says state government is likely to negate any savings that might result from merging local governments.  One of the public’s main criticisms of the Consensus Commission’s draft report is that it did not include any savings estimates.

Antonacci has officially entered the continuing debate about the pros and cons of consolidation with a column published by syracuse.com. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

  It’s been exactly one month since about 500 Central New York Verizon workers joined roughly 40,000 others along the east coast and walked off the job.  Little movement has been made since the company’s "last and best final offer" two weeks ago.

Striking Verizon workers got a helping hand from members of other unions Thursday and Friday who grilled hotdogs and shared a lunch at the teamsters union hall on Spencer Street.  Executive Vice President of Communications Workers of America Local 1123 Nikki Tonas says helping each other is what a union’s about.

Scott Willis / WAER News

A coalition of local and state advocacy groups gathered at the Camillus Erie Canal Park Thursday to push for closing the remaining gaps in the 360-mile canalway trail in time for its bicentennial next year.  Progress has been made, but the most challenging gap appears to be right here in Syracuse.

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