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

Onondaga County lawmakers Tuesday approved what is probably one of the more difficult budgets they’ve seen in several years.  Ways and Means Committee Chair David Knapp says he entered the budget process last month with low expectations.

"If you asked me back in September if we would be able to get to where we are now, I would have been very pessimistic," he admitted.

He says  the $1.29 billion spending plan had challenges from both the cost and revenue sides….

Scott Willis / WAER News

Seasoned journalists from the front lines of the Syrian conflict told an audience at Syracuse University Thursday that the media has fallen short on how it chooses to cover the humanitarian crisis.  Sherine Tadros spent most of her career as a Middle East correspondent for Al Jazeera English, and now serves as head of the UN office of Amnesty International.  She recalls reporting from Turkey as refugees arrived.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Many families in Syracuse may take eating a meal together for granted.  But for those facing hardship, eating as a family may not always be an option. At the Rescue Mission, CEO Alan Thornton says this sparked an idea to expand their food center.

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

Governor Cuomo says much of the responsibility for the alleged corruption scandal touching his administration is on the State University, specifically SUNY Polytechnic Institute, which oversaw many of the contracts. But reform groups say the governor is not telling the whole story.

Cuomo’s made a few public appearances since the U.S. Attorney, Preet Bharara, issued criminal complaints against nine people, including several close to Cuomo and two major upstate real estate developers.

Chris Bolt / WAER News

Hundreds of homeowners along Onondaga Creek on Syracuse’s south side could be required to purchase expensive flood insurance once new FEMA flood maps take effect November 4th.  WAER News checked in with one of the few agencies in town that provides flood insurance to find out what’s involved.  With 876 properties set to be added to the flood zone, you’d think Ellis Moreland and Ellis would be getting a steady stream of phone calls.  Vice President Rhonda Cabrinha says that's not the case.

FEMA Flood Zones Continue to Raise Flood Insurance Questions

Oct 3, 2016

Concerned residents on Syracuse's south side say there are still too many unanswered questions about who will have to pay for flood insurance.  FEMA added 876 new properties to the flood zone along Onondaga Creek in August, and that means  homeowners will soon have to start paying up to $2,000 a year.  Syracuse United Neighbors Executive Director Rich Puchalski says recent meetings haven’t been helpful.

Human Rights Film Festival

The films featured in this year’s Syracuse University Human Rights Film Festival are aimed at giving the audience a sense of “place.”  The festival begins today with “The Man Who Saw Too Much,” about the career of a photographer in Mexico whose job it was to capture death and violence in Mexico City. Director Trisha Ziff says Enrique Metinides was the eyes of a community.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Concerns over the future of Welch Allyn after an acquisition last year may have eased somewhat Wednesday with an announcement from Governor Andrew Cuomo at the company’s Skaneateles headquarters.

"Welch Allyn, Hill-Rom are not only retaining the 900 jobs, we’re going to add 100 more new jobs to Welch Allyn,” Cuomo said to applause.

Syracuse police will be able to continue a series of events to ease tensions over police-community relations seen in uprisings across the nation.  The department has teamed up with InterFaith Works of C-N-Y for conversations in each area of the city.  President Beth Broadway says the Syracuse Police force demographically is mainly white…so policing in communities of color is critically important.

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

The criminal charges against nine of Governor Cuomo’s associates is the latest incident in a wave of corruption that has enveloped the State Capitol for the past several years.  When Cuomo first became Governor in 2011, he promised to do something about it. So far, he has not been particularly successful.  

Cuomo, in his inaugural speech as governor , January 1, 2011 promised that corruption at the Capitol would end, and the public trust would be restored during his tenure in office.