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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BUSINESS EXPANDS
6:27 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Dot Foods in Liverpool Continues Growth Trend

An electric forklift hard at work at the Dot Foods warehouse in Liverpool
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Central New Yorkers may have seen Dot Foods trucks around the area, but always wondered: just what is Dot Foods? The Syracuse-area branch of the nation’s largest food re-distributor continues to grow, along with the rest of the company.  WAER’s Scott Willis recently took a tour of  their Liverpool facility to find out what they do and what makes them so successful:

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ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION
10:50 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Rep. Dan Maffei: Real Crisis Facing CNY Infrastructure

Rep. Dan Maffei hosting a roundtable discussion at the Erie Canal Museum.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Experts and community leaders joined Congressmember Dan Maffei Tuesday at the Erie Canal Museum for a roundtable meeting to talk about the state of the region's infrastructure.   

 The City of Syracuse, for example, has been dealing with dozens of water main breaks because of the extreme cold.   Much of the water system is at least 100 years old.  C & S Companies Engineer Orrin MacMurray  says Syracuse is not alone.

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
6:13 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Miner Against Tax Incentives for Hotel at Destiny USA

Mayor Stephanie Miner discusses tax incentives for a hotel development at Destiny USA
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said Wednesday she does not support any tax breaks for the proposed Destiny USA hotel.   Developers sent a letter to the mayor and County Executive Joanie Mahoney last week expressing their intentions to build a $75 million, 252-room hotel on a parking lot across Hiawatha Boulevard.  Miner said that, given the history Pyramid Development has in the area, any hotel construction at Destiny USA should be privately financed, without added incentives from Onondaga County:  

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
6:26 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Excitement Builds Over Planned Destiny USA Hotel

This parking lot across Hiawatha Boulevard is the proposed site the Destiny USA hotel. The plan is to connect the pedestrian walkway to the hotel.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse-area tourism officials say the proposed Destiny USA hotel is a great step for generating interest and economic growth in the area.   Destiny officials sent a letter to the county executive and mayor expressing their intentions to build a $75 million, 252-room hotel as part of their master plan.  Convention and Visitors Bureau President David Holder says Destiny as a destination appears to be coming to fruition, and there are still untapped markets.   He says the area is ready for another hotel.

 

ONONDAGA COUNTY WEIGHS IN

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CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY
6:03 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Syracuse Considering Crackdown on Those Who Don't Shovel Their Sidewalks

An uncleared sidewalk on Ostrom Ave. outside the WAER studios.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

 Syracuse homeowners might soon be a little more diligent about shoveling their sidewalks during the next snowfall.  But that all depends on how Monday goes – when Syracuse Common Councilors vote on whether the city should impose a $100 fine for homeowners who fail to clear their sidewalks.   Common Councilor Bob Dougherty revived and helped amend the legislation.  Dougherty knows the ordinance is controversial, but feels the city needs to start somewhere to get compliance.  Common councilor Kathleen Joy feels fines are the wrong approach.

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