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

Many Central New Yorkers probably don’t know that downtown’s central library is one of the few places in the state where a visually impaired person can print documents in braille.  Most of us probably take for granted what we can see on a screen or printed page.  

Scott Willis / WAER News

  Visitors arriving at the new main gate of the state fair Thursday afternoon might have spotted about 20 people holding signs denouncing an executive order issued by Governor Cuomo in June that they say supports Israel’s violation of Palestinian human rights.  Ariel Gold is campaign organizer with Code Pink Women for Peace, and happened to get the governor’s ear as he left the fairgrounds.

"I said to the governor you need to rescind your executive order creating a blacklist for those boycotting Israel, and I told him the reasons why we boycott."

Scott Willis / WAER News


  If you happen to be in the science and industry building at the New York State Fair, you may hear the occasional ringing of a seven inch polished brass bell.  Nine-year-old Madeline Pointer of Holland Patent was the first to enthusiastically ring the bell Thursday at Upstate Medical University’s exhibit.  Her mother Kelly says the little girl is a seven year kidney cancer survivor.  

Scott Willis / WAER News

Visitors to Onondaga County’s Central Library in downtown Syracuse are now greeted with a first floor entrance and $8.7 million worth of renovations and upgrades on three levels.  Executive Director of the library system Susan Mitchell says maybe the big red library sign on Salina street is what’s pulling people in.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  The Onondaga Citizens League has embarked on its latest community study to put real faces on the area’s "economic ecosystem"…who gets work, who doesn’t, and who makes those decisions.  WAER News stopped by the first of three “scoping” sessions to learn more.

Understanding the diversity of the Central New York economy is probably a good place to start.  That's what this group tried to tackle.

"What jobs are out there?"

"What are we doing now.  Very simple question.  Should I write that down?"

"You bet."

Scott Willis/WAER News

The New York State Fair is just a few days away, and fairgoers will likely have to reset their internal GPS when they arrive on the fairgrounds.  In part one of our preview series, what you’re likely to see after the first significant changes to the grounds in eight decades.

If you’ve passed by the fairgrounds recently, the most visible change from the front is a new main gate…

Crashes that produce thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths on our highways could be avoided with a little more attention and precautions.  A Triple-A foundation study found that could also save some New York drivers from going to jail.


The state’s education commissioner , Mary Ellen Elia says she’s fighting a proposal by her predecessor, now the federal education secretary, John King,  to punish schools with a high opt out rate from the standardized tests.

  The announcement that the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant will continue to operate under new ownership was met with disappointment by critics who say the energy is increasingly unsafe and expensive.  Program director for the Alliance for a Green Economy Jessica Azulay says a $7.6 billion investment in nuclear power is a big mistake. 

 "I am floored that the state decided that a 12 year commitment to nuclear power was the way to go," Azulay said.

Governor Cuomo's Flickr Page

  Residents in Oswego County are breathing a sigh of relief following the news that Exelon will assume ownership and continue operation of the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant.  The Cuomo administration facilitated the transaction between Exelon and Entergy, the former owner of the power plant. Governor Cuomo calls it a victory for the region and the state.