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 abandoned and run-down Verizon building that looms over Green Street in Camillus may have finally met its match. Senator Chuck Schumer joined Camillus Mayor Patricia Butler and residents in seeking to clean up or tear down what they deem an unkempt eye sore. 

Scott Willis, WAER News

  Onondaga County did its part to keep the Spirit of ‘45 alive Friday with a day of festivities marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War two.  Officials kicked things off with the unveiling of a new 10-photo display at the War Memorial that will be available until August of 2016.  U.S. Army Air Corps veteran Ed Zaluski of Cicero was there, and says his journey began when he was a teenager in 1943.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Thursday was a perfect day for the 6th annual Block Party in Skiddy Park on Syracuse’s Near West Side.  Music blared from speakers as hundreds gathered in the park to play in the bounce houses, try their hand at games, get dunked in the dunk tank, or just enjoy a hot dog.  

  Director of the Near West Side Initiative Maarten Jacobs says the celebration has come a long way in six years.  

Scott Willis / WAER News

Data collected by a team of local researchers concludes an experiment of sorts launched about five years ago by the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County seems to be working…and very well.  In 2010, the coalition and its many community partners started enrolling select Syracuse children in a program that sent books to their homes in hopes of starting good reading habits with parents. 

   It’s called Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.  Dr.  Jeff Craig is Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Support at OCM BOCES.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  Most Central New Yorkers, including those who frequent downtown Syracuse, might not know there’s a 12-foot tall piece of history behind the Museum of Science and Technology…even if the intention was for it to be seen…

Scott Willis / WAER News

  The Iran nuclear deal doesn't have the support of man in line to be the next Democratic leader in the Senate...New York's own Chuck Schumer.  His position  and his reasoning could be a factor if senate democrats decide to follow suit, making passage of the deal that much less certain.  Below is Schumer's entire Medium post released to the media.  

Scott Willis / WAER News

  The solemn beat of a drum and a slow procession through downtown Syracuse Thursday marked the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Dozens of people of all ages joined the march, which snaked through downtown from Clinton Square to Everson Plaza during the lunch hour.  Long-time Syracuse Peace Council activist Diane Swords says the bombings might seem long ago and far away, the threat of nuclear proliferation continues to grow.

Scott Willis, WAER News

    The company heading the restoration of the former Hotel Syracuse knows many Central New Yorkers have stories about proms, holiday parties, weddings, and other events held at the historic landmark.  Now, they want to hear about those memories, along with any photos.  Hotel Syracuse Restoration Chief Financial Officer Al Gough says most will likely end up on the website  But he says some could become part of the new hotel.

Scott Willis / WAER News

A name synonymous with Central New York’s chapter of the NYCLU for nearly 20 years has taken a new position with Onondaga County.  Lawmakers Tuesday confirmed Barrie Gewanter as the next executive director of the Onondaga County/Syracuse Commission on Human Rights.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  Jubliee Homes Executive Director Walt Dixie knows a lot still has to happen in the next three to four weeks before the community can celebrate any groundbreaking of a Price Rite supermarket at the corner of South and Bellevue Avenues.