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

Meghan Burke / WAER News

Hundreds of people with and without disabilities marched through downtown Syracuse Wednesday to celebrate the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Longtime advocate and Arise Foundation board member Agnes McCray says the ADA is an achievement in itself.

“We were doing so many things before the ADA, and the ADA came in and made it easier and a little more accessible for all people.”                        

Bridget McAllister / WAER News

Growing the technology sector in Central New York could be dependent on getting more young women interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  The AT&T and CNY STEM Hub Camp for Young Women at LeMoyne College kicked off this week.  The week-long summer program immerses 30 local high school girls in the STEM fields, with a focus this year on computer coding and the continued development of drones.  Le Moyne College President Linda LeMura shared one example of a local science role model for campers.

Scott Willis / WAER News

An upcoming job fair in Syracuse aims to address one of the biggest challenges facing employers…finding a qualified candidate for the job.  A variety of companies will be on hand later this week in hopes of finding a match.   Twiggy Billue is program coordinator for Build to Work at Jubilee Homes, which is hosting the fair.

Eric Schneiderman's flickr page

The future of the Affordable Care Act is uncertain in Washington, and there are several scenarios under consideration. The latest possible changes could impact New York’s relatively healthy health care system.

The good news is that the Affordable Care Act in New York is doing quite well, according to state officials.  The health insurance exchanges are functioning, with 17 carriers offering plans in 2017. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, at a recent rally to preserve the ACA, said New York has built “one of the best health care exchanges in the country”.

Meghan Burke / WAER News

There’s a concerted effort to make sure Syracuse’s school children eat healthy and stay active during the summer.  The Onondaga County Health Department, Syracuse City School District, and the Southwest Community Center teamed up today for their Summer 2017 Heritage Health Kick event.  Children were fed a healthy lunch, and Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta taught the children about the long-term affects of an unhealthy diet.

CNY Youth Make the Case for a Tobacco-Free Generation

Jul 20, 2017
Provided Photo/Dianne Patterson / Reality Check

About 150 teens from across the state have just wrapped up an annual summit in Cazenovia that aimed to completely eliminate tobacco use among youth.  The Reality Check event included a number of activities that highlighted tobacco use statistics.  Cortland High School graduate Katie Couture says they have been working on leadership skills and helping their community learn the facts.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The collapse of the latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has officials at one Central New York agency breathing a sigh of relief…for now.  Director of Insurance Programs at ACR Health Steve Wood says while the future is still uncertain, ACR Health will continue to provide insurance to anyone in need.


A Syracuse University Professor active for years in the study and discussion of body image says a new film on anorexia will do little to help those battling eating disorders.   Netflix recently released an original film titled “To the Bone”, a story about a girl dealing with anorexia.  However, Professor of Magazine Journalism at the Newhouse School Harriet Brown says it’s almost impossible to make a film about eating disorders without glamorizing them.

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

New York’s top elected Democrats rallied against the Republican Congress’s proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, saying they will take legal action, if necessary, to stop it.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, speaking before a crowd of unionized health care workers at Mount Sinai hospital, says if the plans to repeal and replace Obamacare in the GOP led Senate and House do become law, he will sue on behalf of New Yorkers.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Another major milestone has been reached in the Syracuse mayoral election. Democratic hopefuls have submitted their petitions to stay in the race. There are five Democratic candidates: Joe Nicoletti, Juanita Williams, Alfonso Davis, Raymond Blackwell, and Marty Masterpole. But getting enough signatures doesn’t mean they’ll all be on the ballot.