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

Gov. Cuomo's office

The manhunt is finally over.  It took law enforcement 22 days to find convicted murderers David Sweat and Richard Matt, who escaped from the maximum security Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, NY June 6th.  Richard Matt died Friday afternoon from gunshot wounds to the head after he failed to comply with police orders to drop his weapon.  Sunday afternoon, a state trooper spotted a suspicious man matching the description of David Sweat near a heavily forested area, and shot him.  Sweat is reported to be in stable condition at an Albany Hospital.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The president of the group CNY Pride says the supreme court’s ruling supporting same sex marriage is probably the most the LGBT community can hope for within the realm of marriage and the rights that come with it.  Dr. Bruce Carter is also an Assistant Professor in the Psychology and Child and Family Studies Departments at Syracuse University's Falk College.  

  He says the decision is consistent with similar cases recognizing the rights of individuals.  He cites Justice Anthony Kennedy’s reasoning in the  decision…

Scott Willis / WAER News

  The renovation of the historic Hotel Syracuse will also bring with it a new name.  The announcement came Thursday in the dusty lobby from Hotel Owner Ed Riley.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  More than 100 people of many backgrounds marched around Clinton Square during the lunch hour Tuesday to call for an end to the racism linked to the shooting that killed nine parishoners at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina last week.  While the rally was peaceful, it was clear that many are angry about the racism that still pervades the nation. 

The Syracuse Peace Council’s Amelia Lefevre says the act of terrorism is grounded in a history of disregard for…and devaluing of people of color.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  The effort to take large amounts of anonymous campaign donations out of political campaigns came to Syracuse City Hall Monday where common councilors approved a resolution supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 "Citizens United" ruling.  

Councilor Jean Kessner voted yes because she supports the sentiment.  But she feels a constitutional amendment is a very slow path to get the results they want.

Ethan Backer / Northside UP/Centerstate CEO

A Syracuse refugee from Bhutan is hoping a dinner and celebration Saturday (June 20th) will serve as a stepping stone to his dream of fully establishing his restaurant. Hari Bangaley  arrived in Syracuse in 2008 after spending 20 years in a Bhutanese refugee camp.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  The raising of the rainbow flag at Syracuse City Hall took on more meaning Monday with a supreme court decision on marriage equality expected any day now.  CNY Pride officially kicked off pride week, which they hope ends in a victory in the high court after decades of activism. CNY Pride President Bruce Carter says considering history, it only makes sense that justices would continue a constitutional path toward equality.

Milford Prevention Council / milfordprevention.org

There’s growing concern among poison control and addiction experts about the possibility that powdered alcohol could hit the shelves in the next few weeks.  It’s essentially freeze-dried alcohol that comes in a pouch equivalent to a shot of hard liquor, and can be re-constituted when added to water. 

   The company that makes it plans to release four varieties of Palcohol, which have been approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.  Upstate New York Poison Center Director Michelle Caliva says there’s just too much potential for intentional misuse…let alone unintentional poisoning.

Rob Romano/WAER News

  Not all of the art in Syracuse’s Westcott neighborhood was meant to be observed on an easel this past weekend. Ask any of the artists, and most will say they wanted to inspire spectators, or strike a chord with them...


Families in Syracuse’s Outer Comstock neighborhood are celebrating major improvements to Comfort Tyler park thanks in part to a long-time neighbor whose offices are across the street near Manley Field House.  The Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation’s Courts4kids program provided funding for a pair of basketball courts that complement a series of other renovations.  

  It’s the seventh such court upgrade at parks throughout the city.  Coach Jim Boeheim says it’s just their way of giving back to a community that’s rallied behind SU’s basketball program.

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