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

U.S. Department of Justice

Starting today, Central New Yorkers might notice commercials from tobacco companies airing during primetime on TV informing the public about the realities of their products.  Tobacco giants were recently ordered to admit they’ve been misleading the public about the dangers of their products for decades. 

"So it's pretty far reaching, and with good reason.  The tobacco companies have defrauded the public about their product and the products are deadly and their products are addictive."

Scott Willis / WAER News

It was 35 years ago on Thanksgiving when the Ronald McDonald House of Central New York first opened its doors on East Genesee Street in Syracuse.   The charity had humble beginnings giving local families an affordable place to stay while their children received medical care just a few blocks away.

Executive Director Beth Trunfio says the seed was planted by a group of local parents with children receiving cancer care in the late 1970’s.

Scott Willis / WAER News

About 12,000 active and retired Syracuse-area Teamsters are among union members nationwide who could get relief for their pensions after significant cuts to payments and benefits.   Senator Chuck Schumer stopped by the Local 317 union hall today to outline a restoration plan that could be included in the upcoming federal budget.

Scott Willis / WAER News

A grassroots environmental group is asking Central New Yorkers to help the area earn a Guinness World Record title on Friday.  The goal is to distribute the most reusable shopping bags in 24 hours.  Mainstream Green founder and president Dana Johnston says they hope to give away 5,100 of the bags at Destiny USA during one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Siena College Students and  AT&T brought a workshop to East Syracuse Minoa High School Thursday to make students aware of how to deal with Cyberbullying.  One of the most meaningful ways is to intervene by becoming “Upstander Ambassadors," as conveyed in this skit.

“Why do you keep posting pictures of them on Snapchat?" asks a female student.

"Because they're going to the thrift shop.  That's nasty," replied a male student.

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

Governor Cuomo is slamming the tax overhaul plan passed by the House of Representatives, saying it will be “poison” to New York.

A range of groups, from businesses, school leaders and progressive activists in New York also spoke out against the House vote, and the provision to end the state and local tax deduction, saying they will be harmful to state residents.

The governor also criticized the tax plan as a corporate giveaway.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Sixteen years ago Saturday, three teenagers set fire to a 100-year-old farmhouse at Gobind Sadan USA in Palermo, destroying the Sikh place of worship.  The community is invited to a memorial vigil Saturday to celebrate overcome the hatred that has fueled recent tragedies.

Gobind Sadan USA founding president Ralph Singh remembers getting the phone call, and arriving on the scene…

The Onondaga County Health Department is preparing to test about 100 people at Fowler High School Friday who may have come into close contact with someone who has an active case of Tuberculosis.  Officials say, however, there’s virtually no risk of exposure to the general public.  

County health officials say the person has been ill for several weeks and often returned to school.  The person was ultimately hospitalized with pneumonia, and diagnosed with TB.   Health commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta says her office was informed, and they’ve launched their investigation.

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

Two reports issued in recent days indicate that Governor Cuomo may be facing his most difficult budget in seven years.

The midyear financial report by the governor’s budget office has lowered revenue estimates by $850 million for the current budget year and the next two years. And it finds that next year’s projected deficit is now at $4.4 billion, if spending growth continues unchecked.

Cuomo began sounding the alarm weeks before the report was released.

Governor Cuomo's flickr page

Testimony at an Assembly hearing Monday grew heated as Governor Cuomo’s economic development chair defended some faltering job creation programs.

Empire State Development Chair Howard Zemsky also signaled the state may be backing away from a key program to give tax break to start up entrepreneurs.