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

Provided photo / SUNY Upstate

Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital is looking for a pediatrician who might also be interested in learning how to treat victims of child abuse and neglect.  It’s the first-ever fellowship in child abuse pediatrics at Upstate, and only the second in New York.

Director of the fellowship program Dr. Ann Botash says it makes sense to have at least one fellow in the field here in Syracuse. 

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

When the legislative session ended on June 21st , lawmakers left behind a lot of unfinished business, including a failure to act on ethics reform proposals in light of an economic development scandal in the Cuomo Administration.    

Scott Willis / WAER News

The past year gave the Downtown Committee of Syracuse something to celebrate at its annual meeting yesterday.  About 350 members of the group gathered at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown to review the district’s growth from a 9 to 5 office center into a community.  Executive director Merike Treier told the crowd it’s been a busy year, with more to come.

Bridget McAllister / WAER News

It’s been five years since the creation of the Greater Syracuse Land Bank, and Tuesday, officials hosted a bus tour showcasing examples of its efforts to revitalize blighted properties and neighborhoods.  Executive director Katelyn Wright says they can’t do it alone; private investors are the key to their success.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse-area Congressmember John Katko is trying once again to push through legislation aimed at plugging the pipeline of synthetic drugs.  The bi-partisan, bi-cameral legislation is the latest attempt to tackle the epidemic that continues to sweep the region and the nation.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The Syracuse Parks Department is marking a century of operation this year, and WAER News has spent the past few weeks profiling some of the city’s most unique green spaces.  In this final installment, Scott Willis visits perhaps one of the largest hidden gems on the city’s southwestern edge…Elmwood Park. 

Former common councilor Bob Dougherty’s first memories of the 65-acre park go back to playing little league in the 1960’s…

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…

verahouse.org

World Elder Abuse Day is Thursday, and experts here in Central New York say there is plenty of unfortunate local activity as elders are scammed, conned and abused.  NBT Bank Director of Information Security and Fraud Risk, Terra Granata says unsuspecting victims can be at risk of losing money from scammers who call them frequently.

onondagacitizensleague.org

A year-long study examining Central New York’s workforce finds there are plenty of jobs and plenty of people looking for work, but significant barriers to accessing those jobs.  The report “How CNY Works” was presented Tuesday by the Onondaga Citizens League at its annual meeting. 

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

The New York State legislative session is drawing to a close, and Democrats and Republicans are digging in on the remaining issues of 2017 including a measure to extend the New York City Mayor’s control of the public schools, which has now been linked to a number of diverse issues effecting people in the rest of the state.

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