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

twitter.com / @syracusechiefs

The pending sale of the Syracuse Chiefs Triple-A baseball team to the New York Mets in some ways is becoming more of a business transaction for many Central New Yorkers than a sports story. 

Thousands of people and businesses bought stock for $10 a share more than 50 years ago to support the fledgling ball club.  But there’s one problem.  Director of the Office of Unclaimed funds in the State Comptroller’s Office Lawrence Schantz says the team doesn’t know where 5,600 shares are.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Both the Onondaga County Democratic Committee and the Green Party are hoping frustration with the national political climate will work in their favor on election day.   

Democrats are optimistic that they have a slate of candidates that will make inroads in the county legislature.  Republicans hold a supermajority with 13 of 17 seats.  The committee has fielded five candidates to challenge GOP incumbents, and two others to seek open seats held by outgoing republicans.  That’s more than in recent memory.  Chairman Mark English says larger forces are a motivating factor.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The City of Syracuse is trying a new approach to code enforcement in hopes of solving problems more efficiently.   The pilot program is aimed at building relationships between the city, property owners, and tenants to improve compliance.

It’s called the Tenant-Owner-Proactive or TOP program, and Mayor Stephanie Miner says it’ll be first tested on the city’s northside for the next six weeks.

Scott Willis / WAER News

St. Joseph’s Health is trying to fill the gap left by the closing of Nojaim supermarket by partnering with a food truck that brings healthy fruits and vegetables to the near west side.  Residents seem eager to snap up the produce.

Patricia Sprague was picking up her allotment of fruits and greens Thursday after attending a diabetes education program at the St. Joe's Health Center on Gifford Street.  Each patient gets 10 dollars worth of coupons to encourage healthy eating.  

Scott Willis / WAER News

There’s some misinformation on social media regarding a key ballot item in next month’s elections on whether to hold a Constitutional Convention.  New Yorkers have a choice of voting yes or no on three proposition questions on the November ballot.

A posting that has gone viral on social media is spreading some misinformation to voters. It warns against what it says is a “sneaky and underhanded” rule regarding the question on Proposition One- whether New York should hold a Constitutional Convention.

Olivia Proia / WAER News

State Senator John DeFrancisco and disability rights leaders are expressing frustration with Governor Cuomo after he declined to sign a bill that would have made it easier for residents with disabilities to make their homes more accessible. It’s the third time Cuomo vetoed Universal Visitability legislation.

DeFrancisco calls the reasons for Cuomo’s veto “ridiculous,” and apologized to those who’ve advocated for the measure over the past three years. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

A major renovation and expansion of the Rescue Mission’s food services center got a big boost Wednesday from Key Bank.  They’re donating $200,000 toward the $6.5 million project that will double the size of the facility.   Chair of the Rescue Mission Capital Campaign David Allyn says the donation will help provide much needed updates.

"It doesn't have burners in the back, so what they've been working with for decades is incredible.  It is very much needed, and we're excited about the opportunity to serve all these meals in a dignified way."

fda.gov

New Yorkers who use e-cigarettes will have to comply with the same limits on smoking in public that apply to regular cigarettes, now that Governor Cuomo has signed a bill into law. But anti- smoking advocates say more needs to be done to combat the rising use of the nicotine product.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The economic stability of Syracuse and other Rust Belt cities might very well hinge on refugees.  More than 400 people have spent the past two days at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown to attend the Welcoming Economies Convening, a coalition of public and business leaders dedicated to resettling refugees.  Co-Chair Steve Tobocman says that while refugee policy must have its roots in humanitarianism, we also shouldn’t ignore the refugee population’s economic contributions and potential.

Governor Cuomo's flickr page

The state’s governor and senior senator teamed up to urge New York’s Congressional delegation to oppose a provision in the federal tax overhaul plan that they say could be harmful to the state’s taxpayers and New York’s economy.

Speaking outside a suburban home in Albany County, Senator Chuck Schumer and Governor Andrew Cuomo called the federal plan to get rid of the state and local tax deductions “double taxation”. Schumer says middle class New Yorkers will pay more money in taxes each year if the proposal is approved.

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