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.

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REAL ESTATE
6:39 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Syracuse Land Bank Opens Bidding for First "Deconstructions"

611 Park Street is one of the properties set for deconstruction. Bidding for it and two other houses ends July 23.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

The Greater Syracuse Land Bank is hoping to deal with its most blighted properties in a more sustainable way by having them deconstructed and recycled instead of demolished and sent to a landfill. The first round of bids includes three houses for deconstruction, and organizers are hoping that the pilot program will grow and result in a boost for jobs and job training opportunities in Onondaga County. Interested contractors attended an information session Thursday, and were able to inspect any of the three homes up for bid.

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ONONDAGA LAKE IMPROVEMENT
2:35 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Onondaga Lake Amphitheater, West Shore Revitalization Plans Unveiled

A rendering of the proposed Lakeview Amphitheater.
Credit Onondaga County

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney unveiled preliminary plans Wendesday for a $100 million revitalization of the west shore of Onondaga Lake.  It was the first and possibly only public meeting on the massive project, which was first announced in late January with a visit from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

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HONEYWELL SUMMER SCIENCE WEEK
1:42 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Science Camp at the MoST Engages Middle Schoolers With Onondaga Lake

Middle schoolers take a cruise of Syracuse's Inner Harbor and Onondaga Lake as part of Honeywell's Summer Science Week at the MoST.
Credit Sarah Brechbill / WAER News

Honeywell Summer Science Week at the Museum of Science and Technology, or the MoST, is underway this week.   It began with water sampling and plant and wildlife monitoring, with a special boat navigating the waters of Onondaga Lake.

 “I’m happy to be with you today for the Honeywell Most Summer science week. I’m going to help you identify birds today.”

70 middle schoolers from around the area were on board the boat… identifying birds…

 “look at him! Look out for the ostrich and the eagles”

Getting close and personal with some of the fish…

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MEDICAL MARIJUANA
10:52 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Medical Marijuana Becomes Legal in New York State

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs the medical marijuana bill into law with help from Amanda Hauser. Her mother Mary Anne looks on from behind; to right is Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Credit Gov. Cuomo's office

New York is now the 23rd state to allow medical marijuana, now that Governor Cuomo has signed a bill into law. But it will be some time before patients will have access to the drug.

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ROSAMOND GIFFORD ZOO AT 100
6:43 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Zoo Visitors Encouraged to Help Endangered Species' Native Habitats

The fundraiser supports conservation efforts for animals in the wild like the Asian Elephant.

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is hoping visitors get in the spirit of their centennial celebration by supporting some of the animals’ native habitats.  Friends of the Zoo has launched a fundraising effort called “100 cents for 100 years” to conserve endangered species.  In exchange for a donation of a dollar or more, guests will receive a unique zoo wrist band.  Friends of the Zoo President Janet Agostini says they want to do greater good beyond our borders.

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