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

John Smith / WAER News

  Piled-on ice cream scoops, some secret ingredients or two, and then… mix it up with milk.  The New York State Fair marked the 37th annual Dairy Day Monday.  Members of the media competed this morning with their one-of-a-kind milkshakes. Rising Country Music Singer Lindsay James was teamed up with local DJ Skip Clark.

"All around, I actually would drink our shake.  Skip, don't you think you would drink the shake?"

"The shake was awesome," Clark said.

"It tasted great," James concurred.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Nearly 100 Central New Yorkers  crowded into the Empire Room at the state fairgrounds Friday to take the oath of allegiance to become citizens of the United States.   They originate from  40 countries...from Bangladesh and Iran to New Zealand and Vietnam.  19-year-old Michael Malinowski of Syracuse came to the U.S.from Poland when he was 12.  He says he’ll always have a place in his heart for his homeland, but is proud to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather who was with him Friday.  

Yonah Perline / WAER News

An effort to improve the appearance and safety of Syracuse’s South Side was on display Thursday as Mayor Stephanie Miner and Police Chief Frank Fowler observed crews cutting down trees and shrubs.  Miner says the effort by the Multi-Agency Service Team, or M.A.S.T  on Fitch Street is focused on eliminating vacant lots and overgrown shrubbery that aids criminals.

"The environment is one part that allows criminals to feel safe.  That's the last thing that we want is criminals feeling safe and secure in our city."

Scott Willis / WAER News

A furious pace of construction by hundreds of workers over the past several months has resulted in the on-time completion of a $49.3 million amphitheater on the western shore of Onondaga Lake.  County Executive Joanie Mahoney says she was fully aware of the risks of the aggressive construction timeline when work began last November, but really took off in mid-February.  Now, the county is the official owner of a completed Lakeview Amphitheater.

Scott Willis/WAER News

An abandoned and run-down Verizon building that looms over Green Street in Camillus may have finally met its match. Senator Chuck Schumer joined Camillus Mayor Patricia Butler and residents in seeking to clean up or tear down what they deem an unkempt eye sore. 

Scott Willis, WAER News

  Onondaga County did its part to keep the Spirit of ‘45 alive Friday with a day of festivities marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War two.  Officials kicked things off with the unveiling of a new 10-photo display at the War Memorial that will be available until August of 2016.  U.S. Army Air Corps veteran Ed Zaluski of Cicero was there, and says his journey began when he was a teenager in 1943.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Thursday was a perfect day for the 6th annual Block Party in Skiddy Park on Syracuse’s Near West Side.  Music blared from speakers as hundreds gathered in the park to play in the bounce houses, try their hand at games, get dunked in the dunk tank, or just enjoy a hot dog.  

  Director of the Near West Side Initiative Maarten Jacobs says the celebration has come a long way in six years.  

Scott Willis / WAER News

Data collected by a team of local researchers concludes an experiment of sorts launched about five years ago by the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County seems to be working…and very well.  In 2010, the coalition and its many community partners started enrolling select Syracuse children in a program that sent books to their homes in hopes of starting good reading habits with parents. 

   It’s called Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.  Dr.  Jeff Craig is Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Support at OCM BOCES.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  Most Central New Yorkers, including those who frequent downtown Syracuse, might not know there’s a 12-foot tall piece of history behind the Museum of Science and Technology…even if the intention was for it to be seen…

Scott Willis / WAER News

  The Iran nuclear deal doesn't have the support of man in line to be the next Democratic leader in the Senate...New York's own Chuck Schumer.  His position  and his reasoning could be a factor if senate democrats decide to follow suit, making passage of the deal that much less certain.  Below is Schumer's entire Medium post released to the media.  

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