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

citizenscampaign.org

  After years of studies, moratoriums, and intense lobbying on both sides, top state health and environmental officials today recommended against hydraulic fracturing in New York state.  

Scott Willis / WAER News

Elected officials from Central New York and statewide are calling for an extended moratorium on hydraulic fracturing after they say mounting scientific evidence shows additional risks and harms of the controversial gas drilling technique.    About 140 members of the group Elected officials to Protect New York signed and sent a letter to Governor Cuomo after he announced a clear decision on fracking could come by the end of the month.   The group would like to see a three to five year extension of the moratorium.  Julie Huntsman is co-coordinator of the group and Town of Otsego council member.  She says they’re grateful for the governor’s restraint thus far…

 About 50 medical students of all backgrounds at Upstate Medical University Friday held a silent demonstration to call attention police brutality and judicial injustices that target black Americans.  The students wore their white coats and held signs saying “We can’t breath” and “white coats for black lives”.

  A multi-year investigation into a Syracuse adult care facility has culminated in a settlement with the state Attorney General’s office over concerns there wasn't enough or proper care for the elderly residents.    Chief Assistant Attorney General for Medicaid fraud control Paul Mahoney says the Inn at Menorah Park on East Genesee Street was operating as an independent living and assisted living facility without the proper cert

Scott Willis

  For the second time in two weeks, members of a wide-array of community advocacy groups gathered Friday in front of the Syracuse Federal Building to peacefully protest the lack of charges against white police officer, Daniel Panatelo, for the July killing of unarmed black man, Eric Garner.

purple logo with hands reaching, holding a sign saying ACT AWARE, HIV
worldaidsday.org

Monday was World Aids Day, a nation-wide effort to re-ignite awareness of a dangerous disease that's claimed 35 million lives since 1983.  Health experts here in Central New York are still working with patients to fight the pandemic. According to Doctor Elizabeth Reddy, Medical Director for the Designated Aids Center Clinic at Upstate University Hospital, “the general public has this idea that HIV is a thing of the past, or perhaps it’s just something that’s going on abroad and it’s not in my community.” 

Central New York bargain hunters were out and about Friday trying to land those limited black Friday specials.  But Syracuse University professor of retail practice Amanda Nicholson says there’s no reason to rush for most items.

gasbuddy.com

Central New Yorkers heading out on the road this Thanksgiving Holiday are being greeted by gas prices a full 50 cents–a-gallon less than a year ago.  Gas-Buddy-dot-com Senior Petroleum Analyst Gregg Laskoski says in some respects, the drop  in prices isn't all that uncommon for this time of year.

Scott Willis / WAER news

More than 50 people of many backgrounds gathered in front of the federal building in Syracuse today to express their disappointment that no criminal charges will be brought against a Ferguson Missouri police officer.  Darren Wilson is accused of shooting unarmed teenager Michael Brown.  While most at the rally didn’t condone the violence that followed the grand jury’s decision, some like David Dunbar of Syracuse understand where the anger comes from.

a snow-covered sidewalk with footprints marking how many people have struggled to walk along the path
Scott Willis / WAER News

Another attempt to fine Syracuse property owners who don’t clear the snow from their sidewalks has failed in the Common Council.  The vote was 7 to 2 against beefing up a snow removal ordinance to include a warning, followed by a $50 fine for those who don’t comply.  

The measure would have applied only to primary routes and those near schools, and might have included some discretion for the elderly or those with disabilities.  Councilor Bob Dougherty understands the concern, and had hoped to work with community and school groups to arrange volunteers to help:

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