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

Scott Willis / WAER News

 

(Editor's note: The original story was first broadcast and published June 6, 2016.  The following is an  update to reflect Lawrence Reilly, Sr's passing, and also to mark Memorial Day.)

 A World War II Navy Veteran who sought unsuccessfully for nearly 49 years to have his late son's name and 73 others added to the Vietnam Memorial Wall has died with that dream unfulfilled.  Lawrence Reilly, Sr. was 93 when he passed away Wednesday.

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

Republicans meeting at the state convention in New York City nominated Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro as their candidate for Governor Wednesday, and offered a scathing critique of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is seeking a third term in office.

Marc Molinaro presented himself as an ordinary person, who grew up in a family that relied on food stamps to become mayor of his hometown of Tivoli at 19, and who now runs one of the state’s more populous counties.

NYS AG flickr page

  The New York State legislature chose Barbara Underwood, the acting Attorney General, to replace the former AG Eric Schneiderman for the remainder of the term, which ends December 31.  Underwood will be the first woman to hold that office.

  

nyclu.org

A Central New York civil rights watchdog group says the expansion of the police department’s body camera program is only as good as the policy that guides their use.  One hundred officers could be wearing the cameras by early next month as part of a one-year trial.  

Yusuf Abdul-Qadir commends the Walsh administration’s effort to improve transparency and accountability in the police department.  But the director of the CNY chapter of the NYCLU wants to make sure that the policy being drawn up between SPD and the county district attorney’s office is comprehensive and inclusive.

New York State Democratic Committee and New York State Republican Committee

Both major political parties hold their conventions later this week.

The Democrats and the Republicans are holding their events simultaneously, on May 23 and 24, the Republicans are in New York City and the Democrats are in Long Island. 

On Wednesday, the GOP is expected to nominate Marc Molinaro as their candidate for governor. Molinaro, the 42-year-old Dutchess County Executive, has been in politics since he was a teenager, becoming Mayor of his hometown of Tivoli when he was 19.

axon.com

The Syracuse Police department will soon begin the process of outfitting one hundred officers with body cameras under a pilot program approved Monday by common councilors.  It appears both the community and officers are asking for the devices.

First Deputy Chief Joe Cecile says the field trial agreement with Axon corporation is free of charge, and builds upon a separate, earlier effort with a handful of officers.

Scott Willis / WAER News

A project that’s been a year in the making will culminate in about two weeks when 7th and 8th grade band students at Eagle Hill Middle School in Manlius perform a composition the whole school was invited to inspire.  Students worked with Band Director Terri Tallman and submitted essays, artwork, and musical melodies that reflected the theme “Beauty and Excellence.”  Symphoria’s principal pops conductor Sean O’Loughlin turned it into music.  He's also an experienced composer, and has worked with artists such as Adele, Kelly Clarkson, and Pentatonix.   O'Loughlin conducted the band students t

Lior Mizrahi / Getty Images via NPR.org

A Syracuse University expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict says the militant group Hamas is trying to manipulate public opinion by aggravating the situation in Gaza and linking it to the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.  At least 60 Palestinian civilians died and more than 2,7oo were injured Monday after weeks of protests reached a flashpoint, prompting Israel to use lethal force.  Associate Political Science professor Miriam Elman says it’s a long-time strategy of Hamas to provoke a harsh response from Israel that leads to casualties.

John Smith / WAER News

The $60 million terminal improvement project at Syracuse’s Hancock airport is coming along, but officials today took steps to speed things up to meet a late October completion date.  The Airport Authority Board approved spending additional money to negotiate with contractors and implement an accelerated schedule.  Executive Director Christina Callahan says they want to return to normal operations as soon as possible because the construction is clearly disruptive.

H.E.A.L. of Onondaga County

Organizers of the first-ever Heroin Awareness Walk in Onondaga County are hoping for a big turnout Saturday to help to reduce the stigma associated with addiction.  Recovering addicts, their families, treatment experts, and the community will gather in front of Syracuse City Hall.

Michaline Younis says she has both professional and personal reasons to be heading up the effort.

I’ve been in the field of treatment for 16 years.  We recently lost someone very close to us two years ago from a fentanyl overdose.  And my brother was heroin addicted for 13 years.”

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