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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NANO HUB
11:33 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Construction to Begin on CNY Nanotechnology Hub in DeWitt

Elected officials and business leaders turn the first shovels of dirt for the CNY Nano Hub in DeWitt.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Ground was broken Friday on a facility in a rural area of DeWitt that’s expected to bring more of Hollywood to Onondaga County.  In fact, the Central New York Hub for Emerging Nano Industries already has a tenant.

    During the state of the county address earlier this year, California-based film and TV company “The Film House” announced it will relocate its headquarters, production, post production, and distribution operations to the facility.  President and CEO Ryan Johnson was on hand for the groundbreaking. 

"Not only will we get to work with this first kind of educational institution that will drive production and innovations globally, it will help train and develop our future workforce so  we can continue to grow in Syracuse and  build the film industry in Upstate New York."

Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy was among the officials turning over the first symbolic shovels of dirt.

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy says the CNY Nano Hub will be the first accredited nanotechnology film hub in New York State. It'll be one of 5 nano hubs across the state.

 

  Justin Steele is director of the upcoming film “The Opium War,” which will be filmed and produced in Central New York using the hub’s resources.  But Onondaga County executive Joanie Mahoney says the hub goes beyond the film industry. 

County Executive Joanie Mahoney CNY should count itself lucky to be the next home for a nanotechnology hub.

  15 million dollars in state money will build and equip the facility at the Collamer Business Park, but officials say that should leverage 150 million dollars in private investment over seven years.  The project is expected to create 350 permanent, high-tech jobs and 150 construction jobs.  

WHAT'S NEXT FOR LT. GOV. DUFFY?

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IMMIGRATION CRISIS
11:50 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Syracuse Mayor, Bishop Offer Refuge for Migrant Children

Credit npr.org

Syracuse  Mayor Stephanie Miner today sent a letter to President Barack Obama formally extending her offer to use the City of Syracuse as a site for relocating Latin American children who have crossed the Southern border.  In a release, she says the City of Syracuse is known for welcoming new immigrants and it currently is home a large population of refugees from across the globe. Miner says the City of Syracuse has been visited by representatives from federal agencies seeking to review a site for possible placement of migrant children.  She says Federal officials have made it clear that the Department of Health and Human Services will pay for and provide all services for children through its network of grantees. Miner says before the children would be placed in Syracuse, they would undergo a well-child exam, tuberculosis testing, and a mental health screening.  The mayor says children stay an average of 35 days while awaiting a hearing before an immigration magistrate and do not attend local schools.  More information on this can be found on a page on the City’s website,www.syrgov.net/unaccompaniedchildren

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BUILDING CLOSURES
1:19 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Water Main Breaks Close Civic Center, Chase Building Downtown

Syracuse Water Dept. workers repair a water main break at the intersection of E. Jefferson and Montgomery Streets that closed the Civic Center.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Onondaga County officials today announced that the Onondaga County Civic Center will close to the public and most employees today as of 12:30 due to the loss of potable water and sanitary services after being impacted by a nearby water main break. 

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CRAFT BEER
1:47 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Local Brewery Hopes to be a Model for Growing Industry

Sen. Chuck Schumer reveals the bottle that could soon hold beer grown from ingredients grown by Empire Brewing Co. on its farm in Cazenovia. Owner David Katleski is at left.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

A popular craft brewery in Armory Square hopes to bottle its beer for the first time in its 20-year history with an expanded farm and bottling facility in Cazenovia.   Empire Brewing Company owns 22 acres of land off Route 13, and wants to grow the hops and barley there to make more beer in order to meet increasing demand. 

     

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OCC's COLLEGE FOR KIDS
11:34 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

It's Really "Rocket Science" for These CNY Grade School Students

Kelsie Bottari with her rocket
Scott Willis WAER News

The term “rocket science” actually means something to the 3rd through 8th graders enrolled in Aerospace Engineering Camp at OCC's College for Kids…like, what goes up must come down, but not always where you expect.

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