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

The Syracuse Parks Department is marking 100 years of operation, and WAER News has embarked on a series that will take you to just some of the city’s many green spaces.  This week, WAER's Scott Willis takes a short walk from our studios to Thornden Park, where he met up with Miranda Hine.  She's founding member and co-president of the Thornden Park Association.

Hine says she instantly connected with the park when she moved to Syracuse in the early 1980’s and bought a house that backed up to Thornden.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Green Party candidates for Syracuse mayor and common council are rallying support for a universal health insurance plan that’s now one vote shy of support in the state senate.  The New York Health Act is a single public payer system financed by progressively graduated taxes on payrolls and non-payroll income such as capital gains and interest.  Mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins says federal funds for Medicaid, Medicare, and the family and child health plus programs would be folded in, resulting in savings for all but the wealthiest New Yorkers.

heroinnews.org

Parents and children in Central New York are being urged to keep an eye out for heroin and fentanyl disguised as candy.  It’s turned up in the southern tier, where police have issued a public health warning about the drugs that look like sweet tarts candy.  The latest attempt to get kids addicted has the Prevention Network’s Beth Hurny almost speechless…

"It's sick.  I can't even...I'm so angered by the whole thing."

She says it goes beyond just hiding the drug.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation, and Youth Programs is marking 100 years of operation this year, and WAER News is embarking on a special series of stories over the next few weeks that will take you to just some of the city’s 170 green spaces.   We'll start with a primer on how the department got its start, years after some parks were already established. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Dozens of graduating medical students at SUNY Upstate have signed a pledge to treat more Medicaid patients once they become doctors in professional practice.  Emily Commesso is one of them, and led the effort.  She and some classmates liked the idea of having more doctors with skin in the game, and extended the pledge to all 150 in their graduating class. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

St. Joseph’s hospital is basking in the glow of two recent state and national awards for generating its own electricity.  WAER's Scott Willis decided to find out how its $15 million on-site co-generation plant works.

The plant sounds like a jet engine...because it basically is.  St. Joe's mechanical engineer Ed Grabowski describes what it does...

"Gas and air come into that far end, there's a jet engine that burns the gas, drives the generator, our power comes off of here, and its distributed to various parts of the hospital."

lyft.com

The state is one step closer to having ride- hailing services available before the Fourth of July, now that the state Senate has passed a bill to speed up when companies like Uber and Lyft will be allowed to operate outside of New York City.

When state lawmakers agreed to allow companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in upstate New York and on Long Island as part of the budget, they thought that they would pass the legislation on by April 1, the start of the new fiscal year.  

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

The rain may have stopped, but water levels continue to rise on Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and the Salmon River.  There’s growing concern about damage to waterfront businesses as the busy summer boating and recreation season gets underway.

Long-time Oswego County residents like Dave White and Janet Clerkin say these water levels are unprecedented…

facebook.com/solarizecayuga

Cayuga County has become just the fourth county in the state to take its place among Clean Energy Communities.  And, it joins only two other municipalities in Central New York to earn the designation from NYSERDA…DeWitt and Minoa.  The authority says Cayuga County has found ways to reduce energy consumption and drive clean energy production.   Legislator Tim Lattimore says it's something they've been working toward for years.  They just had an engineering firm study parts of downtown Auburn…

NYNOW

There are calls for a criminal investigation of some questionable stipend payments to some New York State Senators. One of the Senators who received those payments is giving it back, while another is calling the whole controversy a  “witch hunt”.

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