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

There might finally be some movement to re-develop the long-vacant former NYNEX building in Syracuse across from city hall.  Common councilors today approved a $700,000 settlement with the owner…even though Isaac Jacobowitz of Brooklyn owes about $2 million in overdue property taxes and penalties. 

   Deputy Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development Ben Walsh says now the clock is ticking…

Scott Willis / WAER News

  Eighty Syracuse-area middle school students have spent the past week gathering water and soil samples, catching insects, observing fish,  and studying mud boils in Tully to learn more about the Onondaga Lake watershed.  It’s the tenth year of Honeywell's Summer Science Week, which is organized by the Museum of Science and Technology.  Solvay 8th grader Sidney Chafee wants to go into marine biology or a related field.  She enjoyed learning about the restoration of the lake’s wetlands after decades of pollution.

Scott Willis, WAER News

  The nearly 19 million dollar expansion of Inficon’s facility in East Syracuse is entering its final stages.  Motorists passing by on I-481 have probably noticed the progress over the past several months.  President Steve Maier  says the high-tech company says the decision to expand was based on growth potential after almost 25 years at their current location.

Scott Willis / WAER News

There’s a place on Syracuse University’s South Campus where biologists are trying to figure out how woody plants behave and work. 

   Associate Professor of Biology Jason Fridley opens the gate into a garden plot that looks more like overgrown brush under a shade cloth.  It’s actually an outdoor lab for native and non-native plants.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  Crews found the body of Brandon Closure Thursday afternoon, the good samaritan who fell through an open manhole during Tuesday evening’s flash flood.  The Onondaga County Medical Examiner has confirmed his identity.  Closure was  trying to help a stranded motorist in nearly waist-high water on East Fayette street.   Mayor Stephanie Miner says dozens of city and county sewer workers searched for Closure after he was reported missing.

Gov. Cuomo's office

The manhunt is finally over.  It took law enforcement 22 days to find convicted murderers David Sweat and Richard Matt, who escaped from the maximum security Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, NY June 6th.  Richard Matt died Friday afternoon from gunshot wounds to the head after he failed to comply with police orders to drop his weapon.  Sunday afternoon, a state trooper spotted a suspicious man matching the description of David Sweat near a heavily forested area, and shot him.  Sweat is reported to be in stable condition at an Albany Hospital.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The president of the group CNY Pride says the supreme court’s ruling supporting same sex marriage is probably the most the LGBT community can hope for within the realm of marriage and the rights that come with it.  Dr. Bruce Carter is also an Assistant Professor in the Psychology and Child and Family Studies Departments at Syracuse University's Falk College.  

  He says the decision is consistent with similar cases recognizing the rights of individuals.  He cites Justice Anthony Kennedy’s reasoning in the  decision…

Scott Willis / WAER News

  The renovation of the historic Hotel Syracuse will also bring with it a new name.  The announcement came Thursday in the dusty lobby from Hotel Owner Ed Riley.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  More than 100 people of many backgrounds marched around Clinton Square during the lunch hour Tuesday to call for an end to the racism linked to the shooting that killed nine parishoners at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina last week.  While the rally was peaceful, it was clear that many are angry about the racism that still pervades the nation. 

The Syracuse Peace Council’s Amelia Lefevre says the act of terrorism is grounded in a history of disregard for…and devaluing of people of color.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  The effort to take large amounts of anonymous campaign donations out of political campaigns came to Syracuse City Hall Monday where common councilors approved a resolution supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 "Citizens United" ruling.  

Councilor Jean Kessner voted yes because she supports the sentiment.  But she feels a constitutional amendment is a very slow path to get the results they want.

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