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

screenshot from webcast / U.S. Department of the Interior

After nearly two decades of advocacy, it’s finally official:  A national historic park commemorating the legacy of abolitionist Harriet Tubman will be created in Auburn.  

uber.com

Governor Cuomo is proposing that New York State allow ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft.   

The ride sharing services have been trying unsuccessfully to expand to areas outside of New York City. Upstate and parts of Long Island are among the last places in the country not to have access to companies like Uber and Lyft. Governor Cuomo, in a series State of the State speeches, said in Buffalo that it’s time that changed, calling it an “unfair duality”.

“If it makes sense for downstate, it makes sense for upstate,” Cuomo said.

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

  Governor Cuomo’s doing something different with the State of the State this year. Instead of delivering a speech to lawmakers in Albany, who will have to approve his proposals, he’s giving six mini speeches in three days all around the state.  One of them will be given at the Civic Center in Syracuse Wednesday.  Legislative leaders will not be attending.

David Armstrong / Syracuse University

One more signature is all that’s needed for the Harriet Tubman home in Auburn to become a National Historic Park.  The Secretary of the Interior is expected to sign the final document any day now.  

The process of becoming a national historic park has been years in the making, and president and CEO of the Harriet Tubman Home Karen V. hill says it’s been a long, winding bumpy road. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Time is winding down for the biggest exhibit the Museum of Science and Technology has ever had.  Nearly 26,000 people have come through the doors to see “Nature’s Machines” since it opened in late September.  But Sunday marks the final day. 

Natures Machines uses 50 specimens and 22 replicas to give visitors an inside look into how everything from cheetahs to insects survive and adapt to their environments. Director of Communications at the MoST Maria Welych says it shows how humans are similar to or different from other species.

nysenate.gov

Central New York State Senator Dave Valesky says he’s ready to resume working with the Independent Democratic Conference as state lawmakers prepare to re-convene Wednesday in Albany…

"It's important to continue something that has been working very well," Valesky said.  "The bipartisan coalition that the Independent Democratic Conference has participated in over 6 years now in one form or another has delivered results."

twitter.com @SenSchumer

Senator Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor today to officially begin his new role as Democratic Minority Leader, succeeding Harry Reid of Nevada, who did not seek re-election.  Below are Schumer's comments as prepared for delivery:

WAER News

Central New York Congressmember John Katko will be sworn into a second term in office Tuesday, something the district hasn’t seen since Jim Walsh held the seat.  But  what’s likely to be on the agenda when he returns to Washington?

It probably comes as no surprise by now that Obamacare will be one of the first items to be addressed by the 115th congress.  But Katko warns any changes have to be done carefully…

Jason Chen/WAER News

Kelli Maher has never thought she would able to do this while she’s alive.

On the Friday before Christmas at the Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital, she met with a eight-year-old girl who’s survived because of her help.

Maher donated her kidney to Cecilia Brown, who was diagnosed with Stage III renal failure at the age of five.

“The power to save somebody’s life is incredible,” Maher said with tears in her eyes. “It’s the true meaning of Christmas right here.”

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page / AG Schneiderman's flickr page

An ethics reform proposal quietly circulated between Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders for a possible special session that could also include a pay raise is getting blasted by the State’s Attorney General as possibly unconstitutional.

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