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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Arts & Culture
6:23 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Where do Arts and Culture Fit in to Watertown's Economic Development?

Construction and economic development that's going on in the city of Watertown might be leaving arts and culture behind.  But some people are trying to change that.  Garrett McCarthy is an artist in the area and works in historic preservation.  He's noticed areas such as Clayton and Sackets Harbor have invested to increase music venues, galleries, and events.

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VETERANS
11:26 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

CNY Veteran Presented with Long Lost Purple Heart Medal

Fellow Vietnam Veteran and former Onondaga County GOP Chairman John DeSpirito III presents Daniel Hunnicutt with his lost Purple Heart Medal.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

A Central New York Vietnam veteran who lost his Purple Heart medal years ago had it returned Tuesday. 

 Army Special Forces veteran Daniel Hunnicutt was presented with his original medal at a ceremony today in county legislature chambers.  

He lost the medal in Portland, Oregon, where he returned from Vietnam.  A contractor working on the back porch of a house discovered the medal in the dirt and took it to the local VA center.  After deciphering the name, it made its way back to Hunnicutt here in New York. 

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SYRACUSE LAND BANK
12:13 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Syracuse City Councilors Question Property Sales to Land Bank

This house on Curtis St. is for sale by the Syracuse Land Bank.
Credit Syracuselandbank.org

At least two Syracuse Common Councilors are starting to take a stand against the almost automatic sale of hundreds of tax delinquent properties to the land bank and not giving others the option to buy.    About 30 properties were on this week's agenda, and Councilor Nader Maroun voted no on all of them.  At the council's previous meeting,  Kathleen Joy  issued a  similar protest "no" vote on land bank properties.

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LABOR RELATIONS
11:25 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Syracuse Police Labor Agreement Ratified by Common Council

Syracuse’s 428 police officers are working under a new contract for the first time in more than three years.  Common councilors Monday gave their approval to the five year agreement retroactive to 2011.  Police Benevolent Association President Jeffrey Piedmonte says both city and union negotiators put a lot of work into the talks, which culminated in a agreement in mid-June.  He says health insurance was a key sticking point…the deal calls for officer contributions to more than double starting in September.

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SYRACUSE PARKS
6:56 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Donations to Make Webster Pond More Accessible

Anglers Association Vice President Chad Norton, center, at a news conference at Webster Pond Thursday. Looking on are Onondaga County Legislature Chair Ryan McMahon and Covanta Onondaga Business Manager Kathleen Carroll.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

A popular park in Syracuse’s Valley neighborhood is about to become more accessible to those with disabilities.  Covanta Onondaga, which operates the waste-to-energy plant, has pledged $2,300 to the Anglers Association of Onondaga to construct new bridges and make other improvements to trails at Webster Pond.    Anglers vice president Chad Norton has been a member since 1996, and uses a motorized wheelchair.  He says being able to go all the around the pond will feel like a new door has opened.

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