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

facebook.com/RepClaudiaTenney

Utica-area Congressmember Claudia Tenney says it appears the final tax reform bill will include most of the provisions she’s fought for over the past few weeks.  But that doesn’t mean she isn’t continuing to advocate for New York.  Tenney knows the legislation continues to change, and so far she says, it’s been for the better.

"There's a lot on it.  We're not sure what the final bill is going to look like, but it's been improved."     

Scott Willis / WAER News

More than a decade after it closed, the former Camillus Cutlery headquarters in the Village of Camillus has been renovated into mixed-used commercial, retail, and residential space.   For years, revitalization of the 115-year-old building seemed almost impossible.  Original redevelopment plans fell through, and a fire burned down the former factory next door in 2013.  Now, developer Doug Sutherland and Mayor Patricia Butler-Rhoades reflect on the $9.7 million transformation into Camillus Mills.

experiencesymphoria.org / Symphoria

Musicians, singers, and dancers will once again fill the stage at the civic center this weekend for Symphoria’s Holiday Pops concerts. The symphony’s principal pops conductor described what’s new and how the program comes together. 

Sean O’Loughlin says he spent a week back in September crafting an arrangement that won’t be heard anywhere else.

 “Symphoria is playing music literally, this holiday season, that it’s the only place that you’ll hear it, including a new opening overture that I wrote called Holiday Wonder which captures the theme of our concerts.”

assembly.state.ny.us

There’s now one official candidate running for governor of New York in 2018, and that’s the Assembly’s Republican leader Brian Kolb. He announced in a video released Tuesday.

Kolb, who’s been an Assemblymember since 2000, is also a businessman. He’s the founder and past President of two companies in the Rochester area, where he grew up.  Kolb says he’d draw on the experiences of both worlds if he were to lead the state. He says he’s been traveling and meeting with New Yorkers, and asking them whether or not state government is working for them.

savetherain.us

Two professors studying the presence and impact of two toxic chemicals found in and around Onondaga Lake say more testing needs to be done to determine the concentrations on Murphy’s Island, where the county plans to extend a recreation trail.  So far, research indicates a relatively low risk if the contaminants are beneath the surface.

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

At an event that’s become increasingly rare in state politics, two politicians from opposing parties sat down together and had a civil discussion about issues facing New York.  And their names are certainly familiar to Central New Yorkers.

Democrat and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, along with Republican State Senator John DeFrancisco spoke in Albany during a forum about state issue and politics.

To have a vibrant civic dialogue is important,” said Miner. “The fact that it’s been missing, we’ve all suffered for it.”

Chris Bolt / WAER News

Four Syracuse-area churches are joining together to open their doors to undocumented immigrants and refugees who fear federal immigration actions.  Father Fred Daley of All Saints Roman Catholic Church says policy changes have not been made to help immigrants, regardless of their status.  He also blames Washington with spreading false fears and stereotypes.

Governor Cuomo's flickr page

According to published reports, some of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s hiring practices are the subject of an FBI investigation .

The Albany Times Union first reported that the FBI is looking at Governor Cuomo’s longstanding practice of hiring employees for his office but paying them through other state agencies.

The custom dates back to at least the days of former Governor George Pataki, and is seen as a way to, on paper , keep down costs in the governor’s office while benefiting from more staff.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Dozens of Syracuse-area Muslims were joined by a handful of Jewish and Christian friends in front of the federal building today to decry President Trump’s unilateral decision to recognize the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  President of the Islamic Society of Central New York Mohamed Khater says the Holy City is sacred to all three monotheistic religions, and Trump’s move does nothing to help the peace process.

"He's aggravating all the Muslims and the Christians in the Arab world and the area, saying, 'why is the president doing this?'"

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

County leaders across New York are the latest to complain about the tax overhaul plan now being crafted in Congress. They predict higher taxes for many New Yorkers, declining home prices, and slowed economic growth.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy says the federal tax bill will lead to many middle and upper class New Yorkers paying higher taxes, because of the proposed end to state and local tax deductions. And he says the state’s over $4 billion dollar projected deficit and potential funding cuts isn’t helping either.

“Brace yourselves,” McCoy said.

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