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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24th DISTRICT CONGRESSIONAL RACE
5:44 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

GOP Congressional Candidate John Katko Targets Gas Taxes, Infrastructure Plan

GOP Congressional candidate John Katko in front of the Pilot Travel Center on 7th North Street.
Credit John Smith / WAER News

Most Central New Yorkers are probably keeping an eye on the price at the gas pumps as we head into the holiday weekend.  The Republican Candidate for the 24th Congressional District is partially blaming his opponent for not allowing prices to go down.  John Katko claims that Democratic Congressmember Dan Maffei voted against a bill last week that would have lowered the Federal gas tax.  

  He stood near a gas station on 7th North Street in Liverpool.

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POPS IN THE PARK
1:51 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Pops in the Park Returns Next Week; Expands to Five Concerts

Onondaga Park, Syracuse
Credit syracuse.ny.us

A free concert series returns to Onondaga Park in Syracuse starting next Tuesday, and continues every Tuesday night until into early August.  THE JULY 1st PERFORMANCE IS BEING RE-SCHEDULED DUE TO THE WEATHER.  See schedule below.

The City of Syracuse Department of Parks and Recreation Pops in the Park  series now includes five concerts on July 8, July 15, July 22, July 29, and August 5.  The shows are free and open to the public.  Here's the rundown from a city press release:

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IT'S A HOT ONE
12:23 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Beat the Heat! Free Admission Today at Onondaga County Park Beaches

Jamesville Beach
Credit onondagacountyparks.com

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney today announced that admission fees would be waived at Onondaga County Parks Beaches Tuesday to help county residents beat the heat. 

Mahoney says in a release, “Today  is going to be one of our warmest days of the year and we encourage everyone  to take the steps necessary to remain cool.”

Temperatures are predicted to reach into the 90's, with heat indices topping 100. 

  • Jamesville Beach is located on Apulia Road in Jamesville and is open today from Noon until 6pm.
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MEDICAL MARIJUANA
11:36 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

New Medical Marijuana Program Poses Potential Legal Dilemma for Employers, Employees

Some Central New York employers and employees might face a legal dilemma when the state’s medical marijuana program takes effect. 

 Partner at Tully Rinckey law firm in Syracuse Graig Zappia  says the  federal Controlled Substances Act still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug with “no accepted medical use.” 

Lawyer Graig Zappia says an employee who might be fired for using medical marijuana has no protection under federal statutes like the Americans With Disabilities Act. But, he says, the employee likely has recourse under state laws.

  Zappia says both sides have to be wary of anything that might infringe on the rights of others.  He says medical marijuana also introduces liabilities for doctors participating in the program.  Zappia says health care providers will have to be very certain to just whom they’re prescribing the medication so they don’t run afoul of the law.  

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NATIONAL HIV TESTING DAY 2014
11:41 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

CNY Young Men of Color Have Highest Rates of HIV Infection

Young men of color in Central New York have one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the state, and one organization is trying to reach them to get tested.  

 Friday is National HIV Testing Day, which wraps up a week dedicated to increasing the number of those who know their status, not only for their own good, but also to avoid spreading the disease.  

  The Care Network provides education to schools and community members to spread awareness that people living with HIV can still lead long, prosperous lives. 

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