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

Brad Klein / WAER News

The 19th annual Syracuse Nationals Auto Show began Friday morning, and thousands from across the U.S. and Canada were there to drive onto the State Fairgrounds and secure their parking spots.  

The largest car show in the Northeast draws classic cars owners who often invest lavish amounts of money to trick-out their rides.  Media spokesperson Bob McClean says the show helps to pump more than $13 million into the local community.

provided photo

Organizers of the 10th annual Stage of Nations Blue Rain ECOfest  have unveiled the entertainment line-up for the 2018 festival in Downtown Syracuse.  The event happens the last weekend in July.  The festival aims to get everyone thinking about their appreciation and environmental impact on the earth.

Do you need to up your game when it comes to being environmentally friendly?  Outside of the Onondaga Nation Arena in Nedrow on Thursday, Tadodaho Sid Hill began with a presentation before this year’s festival line-up was announced.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh is calling a railroad bridge inspection report “woefully inadequate” in order to determine if the railroad viaduct through the city is safe.  The summary report comes two weeks after two 40-foot concrete sidewalls tumbled onto South Clinton Street. 

Cameron Tirado/WAER News

Green Party Candidate for Governor Howie Hawkins says Syracuse is poisoning its children, and he has a plan to stop it.  A 2016 study by The Journal of Pediatrics found that, in terms of percentage, Syracuse’s youth had the highest lead levels in the nation between 2009 and 2015.   

Hawkins is making it a campaign issue.

Kevin Fitzpatrick / WAER News

Spaces all around Syracuse will be ‘lighting up’ once again this summer as in the ‘Blacklites’ for Jazz in the City 2018.  

The outdoor concert series has been bringing live music to Syracuse audiences for almost 20 years.  

This year, free concerts will be located in different quadrants of the city every Thursday in August.  Executive Director for CNY Jazz Central Larry Luttinger says there are plenty of great local and national acts to look forward to. 

Cameron Tirado/WAER News

The Urban Delights Farm Stand re-opened today in its first appearance this season at the Downtown Syracuse Farmers’ Market. Residents gravitated towards the fresh produce.

Youth ranging from 15 to 21 years-old operate the stand as a summer job. They’re hired through Central New York Works or Jubilee Homes to garden and sell their crops around Syracuse.  19-year-old Karisa Kirby is one of ten workers who not only gain work experience, but also educate CNY’s youth about organic produce.

file photo / WXXI News

Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, and his son Adam were found guilty of federal corruption charges in a retrial that ended Tuesday.

Dean and Adam Skelos had been convicted in 2015 of crimes that included the elder Skelos arranging no show jobs worth $300,000 for his son.

But the conviction was overturned on appeal.

In the retrial, a jury for the second time found both Skelos guilty on all counts.

Chris McGrath/Getty Images / via NPR

The Chair of the Political Science Department at SU's Maxwell School says the summit between the U.S. and Russia amounted to a big nothing-burger.  Brian Taylor has written several books about Russian politics. 

He says President Trump and Vladimir Putin were combative against the American Press about the topic of the Russian-electoral interference.  Taylor says this comes on the heels last week’s Mueller indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence officers but, it seems Trump is looking the other way.

Cameron Tirado / WAER News

School is out for the summer, but for the next month nearly 100 kids from all over Syracuse will continue learning at their local YMCA’s.  Rising third, fourth and fifth graders can participate in the Power Scholar Academy at four sites for no cost. 

  

We caught up with eight-year-old Dominic at the Wilson Community Center, where he read us the power scholar pledge:  

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The second set of corruption convictions of former associates of Governor Cuomo has renewed calls to reform  the governor’s multi billion dollar economic development program that was at the heart of the bribery and bid rigging cases. But Cuomo says the problem has already been fixed.

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