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

Dozens of government, non-profit and private sector companies and organizations will be on hand at SUNY ESF Wednesday to help connect students and others to careers in the environment. John Turbeville, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Director of Career Services at ESF, said the 16th annual networking event is their only career fair.

“This is our Super Bowl, it’s something we look forward to every single year.”

Scott Willis / WAER News

More than a dozen Syracuse-area parishioners are spending this week in Nicaragua to help combat maternal mortality and support infant health.  Since the early 1990's, parishioners have been providing money and supplies to the Health Care Ministry in the in the Villanueva community.  Charles Clinton, one of the group’s leaders, notes how important the trip is to the community.

"You would see on the walls of the program center photographs of people from previous trips," Clinton said.  "They're in their memories, and definitely in their spirits."

Scott Willis / WAER News

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says the swift opposition from some officials about the recommendation of a metropolitan government amounts to nothing more than scare tactics and fear mongering.  We caught up with Mahoney to round out our series on the potential impact of the Consensus Commission’s final report.

Mahoney says she’s always been a proponent of more efficient government, and has continued the county’s track record of combining city and county departments. 

centerstateceo.com

The head of the region’s leading business development group says the consensus commission’s report present opportunities to streamline operations for developers.  It's the latest of many perspectives in our series examining the potential impact of the commission’s recommendations.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The chairman of the Onondaga county legislature says they will not bring a proposal for a new metropolitan government to the ballot this year.  The decision comes a week after the consensus commission recommended the combination of city and county government in its final report.  Ryan McMahon says the debate has just begun and the decision will not be rushed.

The chair of the Green Party in Onondaga County says a metropolitan government is needed to address segregation, poverty, and economic stagnation.  But Howie Hawkins says the model proposed by the consensus commission would only amplify those problems. 

He agrees with consensus that the recommendations to consolidate 16 functions of government like road maintenance and public safety can probably be done now and relatively quickly to provide better infrastructure and services.

Matt Ryan / WXXI News

A group of upstate lawmakers are asking the state to step in and fund refugee resettlement programs, that they say have been caught up in President Trump’s travel ban and the resulting chaos.

The federal government funds refugee resettlement centers, located in cities in upstate New York. But, under the rules, the money for staff is based on the number of refugees coming in. When President Trump’s travel ban briefly froze the entry of refugees from the seven majority Muslim countries, the funding for the resettlement centers  dried up too.

salina.ny.us

Salina’s Town Supervisor says it’s not entirely clear what the Consensus Commission’s recommendations might mean for his town if any of the measures to streamline local government were put into place.  We’re checking in this week with various government, business, and political leaders on the potential impact of the report’s 50 recommendations, including the consolidation of the city and county.  The Commission’s report identifies up to nearly 33-million dollars in annual savings county-wide.  But even as a commission member, Salina’s Mark Nicotra says he’s not sure if that’s possible.

Matt Ryan / WXXI News

Environmental groups are pushing Governor Andrew Cuomo to codify into law some of the steps he’s taken to protect the environment and cut down on pollution related to climate change. At a budget hearing Monday, lawmakers were focused on a more immediate concern — clean drinking water.

Legislative budget hearings were interrupted once again, this time by anti-climate change activists shouting that they want “climate justice in the budget.”

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner today defended her sharp criticism of the recommendations of the Consensus commission’s final report.  Miner says she disapproves of the suggested merging of the city and county into a single metropolitan government…without giving consideration to a dependent school district.

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