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

Chris Bolt / WAER News

  Onondaga County’s Sheriff has a few ideas about how to reduce what he’s calling an epidemic in heroin abuse.  He’s trying to help addicts in the community as well as those behind bars. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

  Law enforcement officials  and gun safety advocates say the key to reducing the gun violence in Syracuse is to stop the flood of guns trafficked here from other states.  Mayor Stephanie Miner and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand convened a roundtable discussion Friday at the Southwest Community Center to discuss proposed federal legislation that would make gun trafficking across state lines a crime. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

You might say it was the first day of school Thursday for SUNY Upstate Medical University’s new president.  Dr. Danielle Laraque-Arena has spent the past three months or so getting to know the university and the community it serves.  She calls the transition between her appointment in September and today "marvelous."

"I've been anticipating the first day, and I'm thrilled."          

She says one of her themes is to connect science and education to the work they need to do at Upstate.  She says there has to be a focus on tackling Syracuse’s high rate of poverty. 

dec.ny.gov

It appears the Village of Fayetteville is about to be the first in the county to go forward with a deer management plan.  Village trustees have decided to hire government sharpshooters to cull the deer herd instead of using volunteer bow hunters.  

  The village’s deer committee had recommended signing an agreement with the USDA animal and plant health inspection service.  Mayor Mark Olson says this means trained, professional sharpshooters will come in and do the work as opposed to using volunteer archers.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Many Central New Yorkers might not think winter is a good time to visit the Rosamond Gifford Zoo.  But zoo officials beg to differ, and are offering incentives to get visitors through the gates during the typically slower months.   Zoo Director Ted Fox says a mild, snowless December certainly boosted attendance…

"We've had lots of extra people coming in, enjoying the sunny days, getting close to the animals.  Unlike summer, with the leaves off the trees, the animals are much more visible."

Chris Bolt / WAER News

About 50 refugees from Ethiopia took to the streets of Syracuse Friday to try and get the U.S. government to stop attacks against people in their homeland.  People who fled violence years ago are seeing their relatives in danger.  They're crying out to urge Washington to stop government backed violence in their African Homeland.   Habiba Boru came to Syracuse 15 years ago to escape similar attacks. 

The leader of the union representing 2,300 Onondaga County workers says they’re more unified than ever after rejecting their third tentative contract agreement in 18 months.   The dispute now enters the final phase of the impasse process.

The vote late Tuesday was 1,057 to 747 to turn down the contract, which would have been retroactive to 2013.  President of CSEA Local 834 Kathy Zabinski says the biggest issue continues to be the cost of health insurance.  

Chris Bolt / WAER News

Governor Cuomo continued to unroll his 2016 agenda Wednesday with a visit to Onondaga County.   He has been touring the state, unveiling pieces of his agenda ahead of next week’s combined state of the state and budget address.  It was probably no accident that he chose a venue just off the Thruway in Salina to make his latest announcement.  Cuomo says he wants to make the largest investment in upstate transportation infrastructure in history.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The Syracuse Common council will start the new year without one of its long-time members.  Kathleen Joy is reflecting on her time as one of the council’s more independent voices over the past ten years.  Term limits have forced Joy from her councilor-at-large seat, where she says she’s listened, reached out, and tried to understand everyone’s perspective on everything from environmental issues to economic development.

songmountain.com

Many Central New Yorkers probably aren't complaining about the late arrival of winter weather.  But that’s definitely not the case among ski resorts and those who hope to hit the slopes.  Peter Harris is owner operator of Song Mountain in Tully and Labrador Mountain in Truxton.  Neither has yet to open and stay open. 

"We're looking forward to some lake effect, and we're looking forward to some nor easters.  The winter's not a total bust yet.”                                            

Harris hopes they can this weekend if they can make some snow.

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