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

Scott Willis / WAER News

Leaders on Syracuse’s north side are concerned about the potential impact of the I-81 project on their neighborhoods.  Director of the Northside Urban Partnership Dominic Robinson stood outside the new One Group Center adjacent to Spencer Street and the freeway.

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

A former Cuomo Administration official is among those  named in a criminal complaint by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, and accused of carrying out kickback and bribery schemes over a period of several years. Many of those illegal acts, the complaint alleges, involve the governor’s much touted Upstate economic development programs, including the Buffalo Billion.

Marlee Tuskes / WAER News

A new mural will now greet students and visitors as they enter Syracuse’s LeMoyne Elementary School. The mural depicts the five Native American nations coming together to create the Haudenosaunee confederacy.  Andy Mager with neighbors of the Onondaga Nation says the mural will help to educate residents about the history that happened right in their own backyard.

Onondaga County Lawmakers reviewed the County Executive’s budget proposal for parks and recreation.  Tucked inside is a substantial $75,000 that isn’t specifically named but was presumed to be budgeted for Syracuse Jazz Fest.   There appears to be an indication that the funding could also be tied to a change in venue.

Excellus Blue Cross/Blue Shield

Although the flu season hasn’t arrived yet, Central New Yorkers just never know when it will hit.  A recent analysis conducted by Excellus Blue Cross/Blue Shield shows confirmed flu cases across the state have peaked at different times over the past four years. Excellus Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Richard Lockwood says it's better to get the shot whenever you can because it’s difficult to know exactly when flu season will come.

A national security expert at Syracuse University says suspect linked to the four bombings in and around New York City doesn’t appear to have any links to an international terrorist far.  Director of National Security Studies Bill Smullen says it seems 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami of New Jersey is a home-grown terrorist who may have allegedly had help planting the bombs.  Smullen says the presence of cameras assisted in his capture. 

Maria Simmon / Rosamond Gifford zoo

Syracuse's Rosamond Gifford Zoo has two recent reasons to celebrate International Red Panda Day Saturday.  Two red panda cubs named Ravi and Amirya were born on June 27th to second-time mother Tabei. But the tiny cubs aren't on exhibit to zoo guests just yet. 

   In a release, officials say they're inside nest boxes under the careful watch of their mother.  They have opened their eyes and are mobile, but are still tiny and nursing.  Zookeepers have been conducting regular weight and wellness checks to monitor the cub's growth and health.  

Sophia Morris / WAER News

  Two former major league baseball players helped kick off Hispanic Heritage Month in Syracuse today by sharing their experiences as Latinos in the sport.  Carlos Baerga is a former second baseman from Puerto Rico who signed on at age 16. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

  Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney presented her budget proposal to lawmakers Thursday, which includes no property tax increase for 2017.   The $1.3 billion spending plan represents a 1.9 percent increase over 2016.  But there are signs that the budget is a bit more strained than in recent years.  While the property tax levy stays flat, Mahoney says they’re also predicting a modest increase in sales tax revenue that’s roughly half of what it has been.  

  The staff and volunteers who answer calls to the region’s suicide hotline are encouraged by the state’s comprehensive effort to reduce the suicide rate.  Cheryl Giarrusso is Director of Crisis Intervention Services at Contact Community Services.

"I think the push right now is to make the public aware that suicide is a public issue," Giarrusso said. "It is something that has to come out of the darkness and into the light.