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

CHAT Camp Helps Non-Verbal Kids Connect

Aug 9, 2013
Maria Catanzarite, WAER News

The Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University brought together five area children to take part in a week-long camp for kids who chat a bit differently. Everyone has a voice—some just use the touch of a screen. 

Today was the final day of the first-ever CHAT camp, or also known as the camp of “communicative hope through assistive technology.” Speech and language pathologist Beth Tollar thinks kids with unique ways of speaking need to know they aren’t alone.

Centro bus video; screen capture

A cross cultural coalition of more than a dozen advocacy groups is stepping up pressure on the City of Syracuse, Onondaga County, and Centro in light of the treatment of Brad Hulett. 

The story has gathered momentum since the Post-Standard published a story last week about Hulett’s plans to sue the city, county, and Centro over the incident that took place back in May.  Regional director of the NYCLU Barrie Gewanter sums up what happened…

Regional transportation officials fear the community will be polarized over what to do with the elevated portion of Interstate 81 through Syracuse.  Engineers just got the green light to spend the next few months conducting an environmental impact review of the various options, and narrow them down to one or two.

Rep. Dan Maffei Hosts Discussion on Education

Aug 5, 2013
Christian Bersani, WAER News

With the upcoming school year quickly approaching, Representative Dan Maffei returned to his alma mater of Nottingham High School Monday to hold a roundtable meeting on how to improve pre K-12 education in Central New York.

WAERs Max Brady

Dozens of Syracuse University students living on south campus starting this fall will be getting their heat and hot water from the sun.  S-U has installed solar thermal panels on 20 buildings, which will serve 160 apartments.  

WAER's Max Brady talked with S-U Sustainability Division Project Analyst and Public Relations Coordinator Brooke Wears.

Wears says the panels will work when it’s cloudy, or snowy, and they're angled so the snow won't collect on them.     More information on the project is at sustainability.syr.edu.
 

Several Westcott Street business owners say construction on the latest Save the Rain project in their neighborhood has brought business to a halt.  Work began three weeks ago on the million dollar project, which will narrow the road, add curbs and landscaping, plus replace sidewalks…all while keeping stormwater from overwhelming the sewer system.   

Onondaga

Community College is partnering with a medical interpreting firm to offer a course aimed at more thoroughly training interpreters who help non-english speakers communicate with their doctors.  The need for interpreters has grown as  Central New York becomes home to more refugees who speak many different languages. 

Multi-cultural Association of Medical Interpreters  Executive Director Cornelia Brown says the 135-hour course gives future interpreters the extensive training they need to ensure doctors and nurses understand the needs of the patient.

A group of Onondaga County lawmakers today got an update on the health department’s mosquito control program.  We reported on Wednesday that there are likely to be more mosquitoes as a result of the wet weather, but not necessarily more disease.  Still, Health Commissioner Doctor Cynthia Morrow says West Nile virus and Triple-E are a part of the region’s ecology, and they’re trying to control it.

Christian Bersani/WAER News

The story of Onondaga Lake including all of its blemishes will be on display for visitors to this year’s New York State Fair.  A new three-thousand square foot exhibit in the Center of Progress building will chronicle the lake’s past as the ancestral grounds of the Onondaga people to its ongoing recovery from decades of industrial and municipal pollution.   SUNY E-S-F President Neil Murphy says the space will allow visitors an interactive, hands-on experience.

OCC Welcomes New President

Jul 1, 2013
sunyocc.edu

New Onondaga Community College President Casey Crabill went undercover to explore how students felt about the institution.  She scoped out the school as a prospective student to see what she would be getting into.

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