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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MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY
4:09 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Dozens Honor MLK Jr's Legacy With Day of Service to Help the Needy

Volunteers sort clothes and pack boxes at the food and clothing drive.
Credit James Johnson / WAER News

Dozens of people packed into a Syracuse union hall Monday morning with the less fortunate on their minds.  This year's Martin Luther King Junior holiday marks the 14th annual day of service food and clothing drive.  Volunteers  sorted donations, packed boxes, and loaded cars.  Helen Hudson is the AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison with the United Way, which organize the drive.   

One of the fraternities on hand was Omega Psi Phi.   This is Brother Leroy Antoine's second year.   

Volunteers like Antoine used their day off school or work to contribute to the cause. 

 

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Politics & Government
1:23 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

North Country Congressmember Bill Owens to Retire

Congressmember Bill Owens
Credit owens.house.gov

Democratic Representative Bill Owens  will not be on the ballot this November.  He's decided not to seek re-election in the 21st district, which encompasses much of the North Country from Lake Ontario to the Vermont border.   A lawyer by trade, Owens was first elected in a special election in 2009 to fill the vacancy created by John McHugh's appointment to Secretary of the Army. 

A year later, Owens narrowly won a three-way race against Republican Matt Doheny and Doug Hoffman.  He's now serving the final year of his second full term.  Here's an excerpt from Owens' statement:

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FINANCIAL LITERACY
5:11 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

"Mad City" Puts Solvay High School Students in Real-Life Financial Scenarios

Seniors Davis Kippen, far left, and his "wife," Loren, red pants, reflect on their choices at Mad City, Solvay High School.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Who knew day care costs so much?  You mean I have to buy insurance?  Oops, guess we can’t afford that new smart phone.  

Those were just some of the real-life financial lessons being learned Friday at Solvay High School at an event called Mad City.   Each student is given a packet with their assigned occupation, salary, and some debt.  they then visit the various “merchants” who sell food, cars, furniture, clothes, and so on.  Economics teacher Karen Harmon has helped lead the simulation since it started five years ago. 

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ONONDAGA COUNTY SHERIFF'S RACE
6:39 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

DeWitt Police Chief Seeks GOP Nomination for Onondaga County Sheriff

Gene Conway announces his run for Onondaga County Sheriff with his wife Ann by his side.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

DeWitt Police Chief Gene Conway made it official Thursday and declared his candidacy for Onondaga County Sheriff.  About 60 supporters packed into Tony's Restaurant on Burnet Ave. for the announcement. 

His law enforcement career spans 37 years, the last 12 in DeWitt.  Conway is a Republican who started in North Syracuse, followed by 24 years in various roles in the sheriff’s department.

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State of the State Address
9:09 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Business Perks, Education Proposals Highlight Gov Cuomo's 2014 Agenda

Gov Cuomo addresses lawmakers and others in Albany during his 3rd State of the State address Wednesday
Credit Karen Dewitt/WXXI News

  Upstate New York’s economy figured heavily into Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address Wednesday.  

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