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 kitchen at Syracuse’s Fowler High School was in the spotlight Thursday as the president of a national nutrition organization stopped by to gather information about the dire need for increased funding for food service equipment.  Fowler appears to be ahead of the curve when it comes to preparing healthy options for students.

tobacco21.org

Starting January first, Onondaga County residents who want to buy tobacco products must be 21 years old.  Lawmakers by a vote of 11 to 5 Tuesday amended a local law that raises the age from 19, which was set in 2009.    Executive Director of the Regional Chapter of the American Heart Association Franklin Fry says the measure had the support of residents, school districts, hospitals, and dozens of companies.

"We've seen it work elsewhere.  We know from our science that if someone can get to 21 without smoking, there's only a two percent chance they ever will."

Scott Willis/WAER News

Central New Yorkers marked World AIDS day today by remembering those who died of the disease, but also celebrating progress of AIDS prevention in New York State.  ACR Health Executive Director Wil Murtaugh says the state’s increase in the supplement of Pre-exposure Pills, or PrEP, is helping stop the disease before it can be contracted.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Members of the Syracuse Police Department responded to a different kind of call over the past two months.  They were up to the challenge…in exchange for wearing pink badges, growing beards, and painting their fingernails. 

Sergeant Colin Hillman says there was a certain feeling of freedom when male officers didn’t have to shave and female officers could paint their nails blue.  Normally, both are prohibited.

"Telling the patrol cops they get to grow a beard for a month was great.  As far as bolstering morale, it was very popular."

Rep. Katko's facebook page

The U.S. Attorney for Western New York says CNY Congressmember John Katko received a voicemail from a 28-year-old Syracuse man threatening to kill Katko and his family if he did not support net neutrality.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gestring says in a release that Patrick Angelo has been arrested and charged with interstate communication of a threat and threatening a federal official.  The message was left at Katko's Washington, D.C. office October 19th.  The transcript follows, provided by the U.S. Attorney's office:  

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse University Graduate Student employees Wednesday went public with their plans to unionize during what they say is a trying time at the university and under the Trump administration.  About 100 students and faculty braved the wind and cold outside Hendricks chapel to rally for organizing and against the republican tax reform plan.  Senior Janet Flores was among those to call on SU administrators to take a stronger stance against the legislation.

Governor Cuomo's flickr page

The state Democratic Party, led by Governor Andrew Cuomo, is offering carrots and sticks to two rival factions of Democrats in the State Senate, in an effort to get them to reunite and potentially rule the chamber.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Two local governments have found another way to share services without a mandate from the state.  Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has agreed to offer the city’s grant application services to the Town of Cicero.  Town Supervisor Mark Venesky says while Cicero might qualify for state, federal, or foundation grant money for social and infrastructure programs, the town couldn’t afford contractors to look into it.

news.cornell.edu

Cornell University, New York Sea Grant, and charter boat captains have teamed up on a high-tech mission to learn more about the behavior of King Salmon in the Lake Ontario ecosystem.  They’re already getting valuable information from pop-off satellite tags attached to the fish. 

Allegra Craver / WAER News

Dozens of environmental advocates gathered in front of Congressmember John Katko’s office today urging him to oppose a proposal that would open the door to oil and gas drilling in part of the arctic national wildlife refuge.  The measure is included in the tax reform bill being debated this week in congress.

Co-organizer of the rally Tara Miller with the group Defenders of Wildlife says any move to allow drilling off the pristine north slope of Alaska does not belong in the budget.

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