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

Rethink 81

The group of property owners, businesses, and residents who want to see the I-81 viaduct torn down revealed computer generated renderings showing what a boulevard may look like. Developer Bob Doucette with Rethink 81 says their analysis of land values in the path and around the freeways shows a street level solution could generate $140 million in property value.

assembly.state.ny.us

Carl Heastie was elected unanimously by Democrats in the Assembly to be the next Speaker, less than two weeks after former Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested and charged with  running a massive multi million dollar corruption scheme.

usw.org

It appears a judge is agreeing with the findings of the federal government that management at the Novelis plant in Scriba has violated labor laws in trying to keep workers from unionizing.    International Union Representative for the United Steelworkers Jim Ridgeway says the intimidation was obvious:

LeMoyne College

A Lemoyne College professor and native of India believes his country is ready to remove some regulatory barriers to spur much needed foreign investment. President Obama pledged 4 billion dollars in investments and loans to facilitate U.S. trade with India. Management professor Bernard Arogyaswamy says it could forge stronger ties and help India become a more formidable economic power.

Matti Blume

Some Syracuse Common Councilors are questioning what appears to be a trend by the police department to add military hardware to its SWAT team.  The Council voted 6 to 1 this week to accept a $100,000 federal homeland security grant to outfit its 9-ton Bearcat armored vehicle with night vision, ballistic protection search mirrors, a pole camera, tubular assault equipment, among other items.   Jean Kessner cast the lone "no" vote.  She says using military tools and tactics on domestic problems is the wrong approach. 

Bryan Cereijo / WAER News

Syracuse Common Councilors Monday made their position on the future of I-81 clear…and official.  They approved a non-binding resolution asking the governor, state legislature, and the state DOT to re-design and re-construct the I-81 viaduct into a street level boulevard.  

  Council President Van Robinson has advocated for its removal years before the state began planning for its future.  Now he’s hoping others will follow the council’s lead…

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse was one of 20 locations statewide Friday where members of Governor Cuomo’s cabinet delivered the his state of the state message and budget agenda.  Commissioner of the state’s department of civil service Jerry Boone made his presentation at the SUNY Educational Opportunity Center.    He echoed much of Cuomo’s message on education reform, including some staggering numbers about failing schools.  He says average statewide graduation rate is just over 76%; but it’s only around 47% in failing schools…

SUNY EOC Director  Penix applauds the governor’s efforts to improve graduation rates.  Still, he says they’re ready to serve as a pipeline for graduates and drop-outs who need workforce or college readiness.

Commissioner Boone says the governor takes pride in sharp rise in the hiring of minority and women owned businesses over the past few years…from 10 percent in 2010 to 25 percent in 2014…

Stephen Nessen / WNYC.org

One of the most influential men in Albany is accused of accepting millions of dollars in bribes and covering it up as legitimate income.  The federal complaint against Speaker Silver accuses the Assembly leader of mail fraud and the federal crime of theft of honest services, saying he engaged in a scheme since the year 2000 to use the power and influence of his official position to obtain for himself over 6 million dollars, including $700,000 in bribes and kickbacks  masked as legitimate income earned by Silver as a private lawyer.

Gov. Cuomo's facebook page

Governor Cuomo delivered his joint State of the State and budget message, proposing a $141.6 billion spending plan that in part sets up a show down with teachers and education advocates. The governor wants 100 more charter schools and an overhaul of teacher evaluations, which he says are “baloney”, because virtually all teachers are rated as adequate.“98% of the teachers rated effective,” Cuomo said. “Who are we kidding, my friends?”

Provided photo / Office of Sen. DeFrancisco

Central New Yorkers came through once again to help soldiers overseas keep in touch with their loved ones.  Senator John DeFrancisco's 7th annual Cell Phones for Soldiers collection drive netted more than 1,100 used mobile phones.  

  The national non-profit program recycles the devices and  uses the proceeds to purchase international calling cards for deployed troops.  One recycled phone provides an average of 30 minutes of talk time.  That means this year's collection will give troops roughly 33,000 minutes of free calling card time.  

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