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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ENERGY
4:12 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Syracuse Activists Urge Pres. Obama to Reject Keystone XL Pipeline

An activist holds a sign during a vigil in front of the federal building in Syracuse.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

About two dozen activists held vigil today in front of the federal building in Syracuse urging President Obama to reject the expansion of the Keystone pipeline.   The action follows the release late last week of the State Department’s final environmental impact review, on which the president is expected to base his decision.  Long-time activist Sandy Porter says the process harms the environment from the time huge earth movers dig out the tar sands, to where they process it.  

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ONONDAGA LAKE IMPROVEMENT
6:35 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Concert Pavilion a Centerpiece of Onondaga Lake Revitalization Plan

A picture of what the proposed Lakehouse Concert Pavilion would look like on Onondaga Lake.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Governor Andrew Cuomo joined local officials Wednesday in Solvay to unveil details of a plan to revitalize the western side of Onondaga Lake.  

The $100 million project will include a 75-hundred seat lakefront concert pavilion across from the state fairgrounds.  Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says it fits into the larger picture of the lake’s rebirth.   

The announcement of the project is part of Governor Cuomo's proposed budget, and comes after a plan to build a sports stadium in Downtown Syracuse fell through due to concerns from Mayor Stephanie Miner. 

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ONONDAGA COUNTY SHERIFF'S RACE
11:10 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Law Enforcement Veteran John Balloni Wants to be the Next Onondaga County Sheriff

Surrounded by supporters, John Balloni announces his candidacy for Onondaga County Sheriff.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

John Balloni confirmed Monday what many already suspected…that he’s running for Onondaga County Sheriff.  He’s been raising money for months, and retiring Sheriff Kevin Walsh has publicly supported Balloni as his successor.   He told a crowd of about 50 supporters yesterday that in an age of tight budgets and sparse manpower, he wants more partnerships with local police agencies to boost community policing.  But he stopped short of a full endorsement of consolidation.

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JOB MARKET
6:28 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Immediate Openings Greet CNY Job Seekers at Opportunity Fair

Job seekers crowd into a room at the Liverpool Holiday Inn Wednesday.
Credit Kaitlyn Richards / WAER News

A packed room of job seekers had the chance to make the right connection in Liverpool Wednesday.  That’s just what Congressmember Dan Maffei hoped for when he arranged the Job and Opportunity Fair.    Inficon was among many companies that have immediate openings.  Human Resources director Sue Magary has 10 to 12 openings because business is doing well.

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CITIZENS UNITED DECISION
3:51 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

CNY Group Vows to Overturn High Court Ruling Granting "Corporate Personhood."

Emily Bishop, at microphone, organizer with New Yorkers Against Fracking; behind her is Michael Messina-Yauchzy, co-chair of Syracuse/CNY Move to Amend.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Central New Yorkers opposed to the U-S Supreme Court’s Citizens United Decision marked the 4th anniversary of the ruling Tuesday by vowing to overturn it.  Supporters of the group Move to Amend want a constitutional amendment that would reverse what they say is corporations growing financial and corrupting influence on elections.   Group co-chair Michael Messina-Yauchzy  says we need to remember the first words of the constitution. 

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