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

An agriculture irrigation system for farmers. Creating canal-side pocket neighborhoods. Maybe a great Erie Canal race. Those are three of seven finalists announced today for the Reimagine the Canals Competition launched as part of this year’s bicentennial celebration. Kimberly Harriman is the Senior Vice President of the New York Power Authority, and presented the finalists at SUNY ESF.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh unveiled his first budget Monday in a way that he hopes sets a collaborative tone.  He brought his proposal directly to council chambers.

“We can’t do everything that we want to do on our own, nor can the council. We’ve developed very solid relationships and hopefully by being there, in the council chambers, we send a message that we’re going to continue that collaboration going forward,” said Walsh.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse area schools concerned about safety after recent school shootings can look forward to some help from Washington.  Congress Member John Katko today told school leaders and law enforcement officials the new federal budget bill includes more than $2 billion dollars for a range of school safety measures.  Districts can apply for money to hire School Resource Officers, something Auburn Police Chief Shawn Butler said is effective in his area.

Lileana Pearson / WAER News

About two dozen Syracuse-area residents criticized Congressmember John Katko Friday for his social media posts suggesting that Target employees received raises because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  President of Unite Local 150, Ann Marie Taliercio  was among those from the CNY Solidarity coalition who gathered for a demonstration in front of Katko’s office building.  She says the post wasn’t true, and that the state's rising minimum wage is to credit.

nrc.gov

Opponents of the massive subsidy plan for New York’s struggling nuclear power plants say there’s new evidence that supports their case to repeal the 2016 bailout.  Two Oswego County plants owned by Exelon were among those granted $7.5 billion in taxpayer money over 12 years by the New York Public Service Commission. Executive Director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service Tim Judson expressed his disappointment in the PSC not serving the public’s interest.

Scott Willis/WAER News

New York Senate Candidate Rachel May says the disbanding of the Independent Democratic Conference might open the door for progressive change in the state.  The IDC was a small faction within the Democratic Party that typically caucused and voted with Republicans.  May is challenging incumbent David Valesky, a now-former IDC member, for the 53rd district seat.  She says she hopes to help change the attitude in the State Senate.

Governor Cuomo's flickr page

Two warring factions of Democrats in the State Senate are rejoining forces, as pressure has mounted from the party’s left leaning base for a reunification. But the Democrats are still one vote short of the 32 seats they need to regain the majority the Senate.

The nearly decade long split between the mainstream Democrats in the Senate and the Independent Democratic Conference is over.

Leo Tully / WAER News

Syracuse air travelers will soon have four new direct destinations to choose from thanks to a new partnership between Hancock International Airport and Frontier Airlines. The announcement comes just one day after introducing a similar agreement between the airport and Allegiant airlines to offer direct flights between Syracuse and Nashville. Starting on July 2, CIO of Frontier Rick Zeni says Denver, Raleigh, Orlando and Chicago will be added to the roster of direct flights, bringing that number up to 21 cities. 

dutchessny.gov

Another candidate has announced they will challenge Andrew Cuomo for Governor. This time it’s Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, who offered a political indictment of Cuomo’s practices and temperament in office.

Rosamond Gifford Zoo Welcomes Two Bactrian Camels

Mar 27, 2018
John Smith / WAER News

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo introduced two new additions to their collection Tuesday.

“Although their not quite a year old, Patrick weighs 915 pounds and George weighs 750 pounds, so they’re big yearlings and they’ll certainly continue to grow,” said zoo director Ted Fox.

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