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

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

The New York State legislative session is drawing to a close, and Democrats and Republicans are digging in on the remaining issues of 2017 including a measure to extend the New York City Mayor’s control of the public schools, which has now been linked to a number of diverse issues effecting people in the rest of the state.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The Syracuse parks department is marking a century of operation, years after many parks were already established.  One of them is Onondaga park in the Strathmore neighborhood.  

Kelly Wise says it was her family’s first weekend in the neighborhood nine years ago this month when her connection to Strathmore and Onondaga Park began.

Scott Willis / WAER News

People of many faiths will stand in solidarity with Central New York’s Muslims Saturday as they continue to celebrate Ramadan.  A walk to the mosque from Grace Episcopal Church  and an open house is intended to counter an anti-Sharia law march in front of the federal building.

President of the Islamic Society of Central New York Mohmed Khater says people are certainly free to gather and rally.  But he also feels it’s their responsibility to help the larger community understand Islamic ideology.

ezramagazine.cornell.edu

If you think your lawn and flowers are waterlogged, think of what Central New York farmers are dealing with after record amounts of rain this spring.  WAER News checked in with an expert to find out what the industry is up against. Margaret Smith is a professor in plant breeding and genetics at Cornell University. 

"Well, it's starting off to be a really challenging agricultural year."

She says there’s a complicated choreography behind the planting season….

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

Governor Andrew Cuomo is getting involved in New York’s Congressional races. At a rally with House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, he vowed to help defeat the state’s republican members of the House of Representatives when they are up for election next year.

House Democratic Leader Pelosi introduced Governor Cuomo at the rally of union workers at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is preparing to celebrate the birthday of one of its oldest…and largest residents.

"This summer marks a milestone for one of the most beloved family members at the zoo.  Siri, the matriarch of our elephant herd, will turn 50 years old this year.”                                             

Zoo Director Ted Fox says Siri was first brought to the zoo in 1972 when she was 5, and is still one of the zoo’s biggest attractions.   He says the 9,000 pound pachyderm has thrilled generations of visitors.

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

The New York State legislature is back at the Capitol for three weeks of meetings before the session ends later in June.  A number of advocacy groups say there’s an opportunity for lawmakers to act to address some of the harm that they say President Trump’s policies are causing.  But divisions in the legislature may hinder any chance of achievements.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The Syracuse Parks Department is marking 100 years of operation, and WAER News has embarked on a series profiling just some of the city’s abundant green spaces.  This week, we head to the heart of the northside for a walk through Schiller Park.

For Paul Grella, it only made sense to be a founding member of the friends of Schiller Park in 2010.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Many Central New Yorkers may not know that the first cohort of New York State Troopers trained in their own back yard 100 years ago this month.  WAER News caught up with a pair of retired troopers to find out why 232 recruits trained at what is now the Cavalry Club in Manlius in 1917.  

Ted Palmer and Kenneth Kotwas say the push for a state-wide police force came from two prominent women from Westchester County, Moyka Newell and Katherine Mayo, following an acquaintance’s murder.

Scott Willis / WAER News

President Trump’s decision to back out of the Paris Climate Agreement has been making waves throughout the country and Central New York.  Strong supporters for the agreement want Congressmember John Katko to take their voices of opposition back to Washington.  Coordinator for New Yorkers for Clean Power, Renee Vogelsang  says  the U.S. is one of only three countries excluded from the agreement.

Pages