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

USGS / John Smith, WAER News

The weather might finally be warming up in Central New York, but a new exhibit illustrates the damaging effect climate change is having on the world’s coldest features.  “Losing a Legacy” is the name of a photography project on display at the Museum of Science and Technology revealing the dramatic decline of glaciers over the past century, especially at Glacier National Park. Exhibits project manager at the MOST Peter Plumley says the photos from the U.S. Geological Survey portend a grim future.

Chris Bolt / WAER News

Three years and nearly $15 million later, 10 scattered properties on Syracuse’s north and south sides are about to be built or rehabilitated into high quality affordable housing.  A groundbreaking for the Salina Crossing project was held Friday.    The centerpiece will be a mixed-use building on the former site of the once grand Otisca building on North McBride street, which fell into disrepair and was ultimately demolished. Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development Paul Driscoll says the hardest part is finished…

Scott Willis / WAER News

The New York State Department of Transportation released its list of three final options that the state will consider for the I-81 Viaduct thru Syracuse, and a tunnel is one of them.   The others in the 261 page "scoping report" include a community grid (boulevard) alternative, and three versions of a new viaduct.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The head of an LGBT support group says a Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage would be very meaningful for the older LGBT population they serve.  Supreme Court justices heard oral arguments Tuesday on two issues regarding same-sex marriages.    Executive Director of Sage Upstate Kim Dill  says older couples have waited for this their entire lives. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Experts at Syracuse University are trying to start a national dialogue on how to best use forensic technology to address national security concerns.  They kicked-off the two-day symposium Monday with a keynote lecture by Congressmember and SU law school alumnus John Katko.    The former long-time federal prosecutor told about 100 students and faculty that he dealt with forensics from day one on the job, though the technology wasn’t what it is today.  He says it’s evolved from analyzing hair samples, wire taps, and gunpowder residue to using search warrants on cellphones.

Onondaga Historical Association / used with permission

It was late the night of April 26, 1865  when President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train made a brief stop in Syracuse on it’s way to the president’s final resting place in his home state of Illinois.  Onondaga Historical Association Curator of History Dennis Connors says that spring,  many families were reeling from the civil war.  Thousands of men from Onondaga County had volunteered to fight.

Scott Willis / WAER

Syracuse University was the latest stop Thursday for Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.  She's visiting colleges and universities in an effort to push lawmakers to approve Governor Cuomo's proposal for a uniform sexual assault policy at every institution in the state. The "Enough is Enough" campaign was originally part of the state budget before it and many other policy initiatives were dropped. Hochul says the policy begins with a uniform definition for consent.

Scott Willis / WAER News

A small group of SUNY ESF students marked Earth Day by using their ears.  WAER tagged along with a microphone to gather what they heard during their "soundwalk." The four students walked silently around campus, taking in natural and man-made sounds.  Junior Jordan C’Dealva-Lenik says it’s the final element of a semester-long project based on a sense of place…

Scott Willis / WAER News

Baldwinsville volunteer firefighter Kim Morini has been responding to medical emergencies, car crashes, and fires for a year and a half…much to her surprise.  

Sarah Brechbill / WAER News

There’s probably no better person to warn about the dangers of synthetic drugs than Teresa Woolson of Oswego…

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