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.

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The New York State Canal System, which includes the Erie Canalway, received the honorary designation Wednesday as a National Historic Landmark.  The distinction is expected to build upon its successes for the tourism industry in Upstate New York.   At the announcement in Syracuse, State Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton explains how the more prominent status could also lead to new investments. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud delivered his winter message late Tuesday afternoon in an effort to prepare the SU community for the months and years ahead.  He devoted a portion of his remarks to the uncertainty surrounding immigration policies under what he called "the new national administration."  Syverud says back in mid-November, the university signed on in support of the deferred action for childhood arrivals program known as DACA.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The Greater Syracuse Land Bank marked a milestone just in time for its annual meeting Tuesday.  The organization closed on its 400th sale last week to a city employee who’s promised to live there for five years.  Land Bank Executive Director Katelyn Wright says the home is on Oakley Drive in the Valley section…

"In this case, it's a young man,  and  it's going to be his first home," Wright said.  "He put in an offer through our Home Ownership Choice program.  His dad owns a construction business, so he'll have lots of help with the renovations that are needed."

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

Some state lawmakers are rejecting Governor Cuomo’s proposal to extend a tax on millionaires. Cuomo spent  Tuesday rolling out his spending plan to individual groups of lawmakers in private briefings, then at night, released details to the public.

The governor fulfilled the state’s constitutional deadline to release his budget to the public , but just barely, opting for an evening unveiling  of the $152 billion spending plan .

twitter @LWVNYS

Governor Cuomo has begun 2017 by breaking some long standing traditions, including, ditching the State of the State speech at the Capitol in favor of a statewide tour.  Karen DeWitt sat down to tape a podcast with long time League of Women Voters lobbyist Barbara Bartoletti, to discuss what’s lost, and whether civility needs to make a comeback.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner delivered her final state of the city address Thursday night…a message that was decidedly more reflective on the accomplishments of her past seven years in office.  She highlighted successes in city schools, with the Land Bank, and using new technology and data to tackle the city’s daunting infrastructure challenges.  Miner also touched on downtown and neighborhood development.

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

Governor Cuomo brought his regional state of the state message to Syracuse Wednesday, where his localized proposals ranged from transportation to the creation of high tech jobs. 

The governor says 7,700 jobs have been created in Central New York since 2010.  And now, 260 more are coming as a military defense and civil security company looks to expand its presence in the eastern suburbs.

screenshot from webcast / U.S. Department of the Interior

After nearly two decades of advocacy, it’s finally official:  A national historic park commemorating the legacy of abolitionist Harriet Tubman will be created in Auburn.  

uber.com

Governor Cuomo is proposing that New York State allow ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft.   

The ride sharing services have been trying unsuccessfully to expand to areas outside of New York City. Upstate and parts of Long Island are among the last places in the country not to have access to companies like Uber and Lyft. Governor Cuomo, in a series State of the State speeches, said in Buffalo that it’s time that changed, calling it an “unfair duality”.

“If it makes sense for downstate, it makes sense for upstate,” Cuomo said.

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

  Governor Cuomo’s doing something different with the State of the State this year. Instead of delivering a speech to lawmakers in Albany, who will have to approve his proposals, he’s giving six mini speeches in three days all around the state.  One of them will be given at the Civic Center in Syracuse Wednesday.  Legislative leaders will not be attending.

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