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 namesake of New York’s Lauren's Law brought her advocacy for organ donation to a Donate Life ceremony Wednesday at Upstate University Hospital.  Seventeen-year-old Lauren Shields was just nine when she became a heart transplant recipient after a virus attacked her heart.  She says that she thinks about her donor everyday and how her donor lives on through her.

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Two State lawmakers from Central New York have a difference of opinion as to why the State Budget hasn’t been finalized.  Monday, the Legislature voted in favor of a budget extender to keep the government operational through May.  Assemblymember Al Stirpe said it’s conceivable that the Assembly could print-out budget bills and wrap-up the budget process.  He feels both sides have already met in the middle.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center in Syracuse is one of three dozen across the state that can apply for a share of $10 million for the investigation of child abuse cases.  The grants would cover the cost of paying a trained forensic interviewer and video recording equipment.

Scott Willis / WAER News

A Washington D.C.-based advocate for addressing the growing student loan crisis says Congressmember John Katko is the lone remaining republican who has sponsored legislation to reinstate minimum bankruptcy protections.  Alan Collinge stopped in Syracuse Friday to urge Katko to follow through.

Collinge is founder of studentloanjustice.org, and has been researching and writing about the issue for 12 years.  He admits he’s in a strange position…

budget.ny.gov

Deals on some issues tied to the state budget are coming together as lawmakers rush to meet the budget deadline.

Agreements on permitting ride hailing services outside New York City and a measure to treat 16 and 17 year olds as juveniles, not adults in the court and prion system, known as Raise the Age, were coming together as the budget deadline approaches.

Cuomo Wants To Avoid Large Increases To Budget

Mar 29, 2017
Governor Cuomo's Flickr Page

Governor Andrew Cuomo is warning that the state might not be able to add more money for schools this year because of uncertainties in Washington over federal funding.

Just days before the state budget is due, Cuomo is urging the state Legislature to pull back on additional spending for school districts beyond the $1 billion increase he has already proposed, saying there is too much uncertainty over federal funding right now.

Scott Willis/WAER News

In three days,  a Price Rite supermarket will open on  Syracuse's south side in a neighborhood that hasn't seen a full-service grocery store in nearly 47 years.  

Jubilee Homes founder Walt Dixie said years of persistence and a bit of luck will finally culminate in Sunday's ribbon cutting at the store on the corner of South and Bellevue Avenues. He said building the relationship with Price Rite was critical. 

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders plan to meet all week, but no agreements are finalized yet on a state budget that’s due on Friday.

Governor Cuomo and the state legislature have not yet nailed down a budget deal that could include an extension of a tax on millionaires, more tuition aid for middle class college students, and more spending on clean water infrastructure, although they continue to meet- together, and in their separate party conferences- behind closed doors.

Plastic Bag Waste Becoming a Growing Concern in New York State

Mar 27, 2017
Scott Willis / WAER News

Twenty-three billion. That’s the number of plastic bags New Yorkers use every year. Governor Andrew Cuomo recently launched a task force to address the issue. Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency Executive Director Dereth Glance says plastic bags never really break down and decompose. If they’re not recycled properly, Glance says they can cause harm to the environment.

Provided photo / St. Joseph's Hospital

St. Joseph’s Hospital is taking a new, comprehensive approach to treating Central New Yorkers with heartburn.  Doctors from several fields have joined together to open a center dedicated to heartburn treatment.  Center co-director Dr. Atul Maini says heartburn affects one in five people, with nearly 20-million people in the U-S living with the prevalent disease. Maini says the center isn’t geared to treat those who just have occasional acid reflux.

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