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

The latest exhibit of photos taken by local photographers of a diverse range of birds returning to Onondaga Lake is coming up this weekend. The photos were taken in recently restored and enhanced areas along the lake shoreline.

Photographer Greg Craybas of Camillus started snapping photos six years ago after he noticed bald eagles on the commute to his dental practice on University Hill.

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

Proponents of raising taxes on New York’s wealthiest say they have a new impetus to increase the state’s revenue- the continued bad news from Washington about deep federal cuts to health care and other areas.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has called an amendment to the federal repeal of Obamacare that would force the state to pick up county Medicaid costs “unconscionable”.  

housingvisions.org

Syracuse Common Councilors Wednesday approved what they fear might be the city’s last application for an annual allotment of federal grant money.  The anticipated $4.5 million in year 43 of Community Development Block Grant funding is expected to come through as planned sometime this summer.  But the program’s future is in question after President Trump proposed to cut it from the budget.  Councilor Helen Hudson says  CDBG currently comprises only three percent of the federal budget.

Syracuse Police photo

An 18-year veteran of the Syracuse Police force was honored Tuesday for her dedication to keeping animals safe in the community.   The recognition came one day after the sheriff announced an animal abuser registry.

The Humane Society of the United States bestowed its Humane Law Enforcement award upon Officer Rebecca Thompson for her compassion and for enforcing animal cruelty laws.  She says she’s always taken notice of pets while on the job.

Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo and the leader of the opposition in the legislature, Senate GOP Leader John Flanagan, both agree that a new provision in the federal health care act repeal will harm the state and its taxpayers. Cuomo calls it a “targeted war on New York”.

twitter.com/Cuse_MBB

Men's basketball head coach Jim Boeheim and SU athletic director John Wildhack address the media in a press conference Monday, talking about the unexpected departure of assistant coach and head coach designate Mike Hopkins, who has been a part of Boeheim's staff for over 20 years. Hopkins took the head coaching job at the University of Washington on Sunday. The two speak of the future of the program, with Boeheim deciding to remain the coach of the team, but does not mention how long his contract will go.

Jason Chen / WAER News

Onondaga County is taking steps to reduce animal abuse in Central New York. Sheriff Eugene Conway today announced that his office would create and host an animal abuser registry to prevent animals from falling into the hands of abusers.

“Animal cruelty is a serious problem, and while New York has criminalized the cruel treatment of animals, animal abuse and cruelty continues to occur here in Onondaga County and elsewhere.”

lscny.org

Agencies in Syracuse that provide services to vulnerable residents are finding that they, themselves, might be vulnerable to severe cuts in funding under President Trump’s budget blueprint.  It appears to be the latest dip on the roller coaster of federal support.

Executive Director of Meals on Wheels of Syracuse Mason Kaufman knows the massive increase in military spending has to come from somewhere, but the questions is where.

"Why Meals on Wheels programs, who have been struggling with funding provided by the government over the past decade."

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says President Trump’s proposed cuts to federal aid to cities would gut economic development and affordable housing in a city that’s the center of the area’s economy.

"If you take away all of the resources, you can't turn to us and say 'what are you doing about the burgeoning homeless population?'”                                             

Legislature Changes Cuomo's Free Tuition Plan

Mar 16, 2017
Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

The legislature’s one house budgets make some changes to Governor Cuomo’s $163 million proposal to offer free tuition at public colleges in New York to some middle class students. 

Governor Cuomo’s plan would have the state pay for the tuition of students at public colleges and universities whose combined family income is up to $125,000 a year, when the plan is fully phased in in two years. 

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