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

Onondaga Historical Association / used with permission

It was late the night of April 26, 1865  when President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train made a brief stop in Syracuse on it’s way to the president’s final resting place in his home state of Illinois.  Onondaga Historical Association Curator of History Dennis Connors says that spring,  many families were reeling from the civil war.  Thousands of men from Onondaga County had volunteered to fight.

Scott Willis / WAER

Syracuse University was the latest stop Thursday for Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.  She's visiting colleges and universities in an effort to push lawmakers to approve Governor Cuomo's proposal for a uniform sexual assault policy at every institution in the state. The "Enough is Enough" campaign was originally part of the state budget before it and many other policy initiatives were dropped. Hochul says the policy begins with a uniform definition for consent.

Scott Willis / WAER News

A small group of SUNY ESF students marked Earth Day by using their ears.  WAER tagged along with a microphone to gather what they heard during their "soundwalk." The four students walked silently around campus, taking in natural and man-made sounds.  Junior Jordan C’Dealva-Lenik says it’s the final element of a semester-long project based on a sense of place…

Scott Willis / WAER News

Baldwinsville volunteer firefighter Kim Morini has been responding to medical emergencies, car crashes, and fires for a year and a half…much to her surprise.  

Sarah Brechbill / WAER News

There’s probably no better person to warn about the dangers of synthetic drugs than Teresa Woolson of Oswego…

Honeywell

Much of the focus of the Onondaga Lake clean-up project has been on the lake itself with dredging completed last fall and capping operations set to begin this spring.  But there’s also been an effort to clean and restore  44 acres of contaminated  wetlands in the lake’s watershed.  This report takes a closer look at what’s being done…and the wetlands' role in the return of the lake’s ecology. It’s a chilly, early spring day, and we’ve pulled up to where Geddes Brook joins Nine Mile Creek, just across the 695 freeway from the state fairgrounds.    SUNY ESF Professor and Chair of Environmental and Forest Biology Don Leopold says the now meandering brook didn’t always look like this.  Before, it resembled more of a ditch surrounded by a single invasive plant.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Four months after Congress authorized the Harriet Tubman home in Auburn as a National Historical Park, advocates are still waiting for the National Park Service to finalize the details.  Senator Chuck Schumer stopped in Auburn to call on the NPS to fast-track the designation so it can receive critical federal funding.    He visited not long after being elected senator about 15 years ago, and remembers people saying then how National Park status could boost Tubman’s…and the community’s exposure. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has released her budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and it once again holds the line on property taxes and water and sewer rates.    Miner says the $674 million spending plan is the result of continued difficult fiscal decisions that don’t require more sacrifice from residents of the 23rd poorest city in the nation.    

Scott Willis / WAER News

It appears the problem of counterfeit cash circulating through the Syracuse area is growing, and affecting more businesses.  A little over a week ago, Syracuse Police issued an alert about phony $100 bills.    Senator Chuck Schumer stopped by a Byrne Dairy store in Camillus Monday, an example of 10 stores that have been victimized in the last 30 days.  

Empire brewing company general manager Breanne Barzee says they’ve received the funny money…

Governors Andrew Cuomo's office

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