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

A coalition of environmental and social justice groups says the pending closure of the aging FitzPatrick nuclear power plant in Oswego County presents an opportunity to transition to true sources of renewable energy.  At the same time, the groups aren’t ignoring the plight of the more than 600 plant workers or the community that are so dependent on the facility.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The exhibits are in place and stories are ready to be told at the Skä•noñh  Great Law of Peace Center.  Grand opening weekend kicks off Saturday, after more than three months of construction.   The former Saint Marie among the Iroquois Museum on Onondaga Lake Parkway has been undergoing a $1 million  transformation …from telling the story of the Haudenosaunee from the French perspective…to now sharing that history though the eyes of the Iroquois.   Until recently, center general manager Daniel Connors says most of us were probably taught through a Euro-centric model.

Scott Willis / WAER News

About 100 Syracuse University students and staff gathered in front of Hendricks Chapel as the sun set Monday evening to hold a candlelight vigil in honor of those who lost their lives in the Paris terrorist attacks.  The remembrance featured representatives of every faith tradition who offered their thoughts and read passages from their respective religious texts.  Devon Bartholomew is the Assistant Baptist Chaplain at Hendricks.


Many Onondaga County homeowners have probably received information in the mail from the water authority about an optional water line protection plan.  Authority executive director Michael Hooker says they began looking into the plans because many water lines in the system are 50 to 100 years old.  In addition, Hooker says last winter’s extreme temperatures froze the service lines of 500 customers.  So, OCWA considered three service providers, and settled on HomeServe.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  The past, present, and future of the U.S. military was celebrated across Central New York on Wednesday in honor of Veterans Day. The Onondaga County War Memorial hosted its annual Veterans Day Ceremony where County Executive Joanie Mahoney marked the 25th anniversary of the Gulf War in her speech to the crowd. 

"Desert shield, Desert Storm and we come together as a community each year on this day to assure all veterans that we are eternally grateful for their service"

Veteran Lynn Sweatland from Liverpool reflected on his service over the years. 

Scott Willis

A specialty clothing store and what you might call a culinary boutique are among seven stores in downtown Syracuse Thursday to celebrate their grand opening.  But John Massarah and Kellie Gingold aren’t necessarily new to the downtown business scene.  Both have owned or managed clothing shops downtown for about 20 years.  Their latest venture includes Projex 214 and Showoffs Boutique, a men's and women's fashion store in a shared space on West Jefferson Street. 

Minimum Reality Wage Check /

  Farmers and small business owners from across Central and Upstate New York gathered in Albany on Wednesday to announce their unified position against the proposed $15 hourly minimum wage.  Dozens of business organizations and trade associations representing everyone from tourism and retail to restaurants and transportation have formed a coalition to oppose the wage hike.  Executive director of Unshackle Upstate Greg Biryla says most studies show a correlation between wage hikes and the cost of goods and services.

  Onondaga County voters will head to the polls Tuesday to choose their next county executive.  Toby Shelley says he wants to give voters a choice, and thinks there are many who are frustrated with Joanie Mahoney.  He describes himself as a moderate democrat who’s fiscally conservative…creating a unique political dynamic…

Lance Denno and Helen HudsonCredit Facebook.comEdit | Remove

    This is a third in a series of profiles of selected local races in Onondaga County ahead of the Nov. 3 election. 

An incumbent, a former councilor, and a retired police chief are running in the Syracuse Councilor-At-Large race. However, voters will choose only two of them. 

Sharon:; Hunter and Stott, Scott Willis, WAER

  This is the second in a series of profiles of selected local races in Onondaga County ahead of the Nov. 3rd election.

Ask Republican John Sharon, Conservative David Stott, and Democrat Pam Hunter what they hear most from voters on the campaign trail…and each of them says jobs.  Here’s current Syracuse Common Councilor Pam Hunter: