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.

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KAREN DECROW DEAD AT 76
11:57 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Karen DeCrow Remembered as a Fearless Pioneer for Women's Rights

Karen DeCrow
Credit lw4sp.org

One of Karen DeCrow's long-time friends is remembering her as a sweet, kind, loving, and funny trailblazer for gender equality.  DeCrow passed away Friday morning at her home in Jamesville after long battle with melanoma.  She was 76.  

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ECONOMY
5:58 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Syracuse-area Groups Join Effort to Raise the Minimum Wage

Activists gather in front of a Burger King on Erie Blvd. E. to call for a hike in the minimum wage.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

A Syracuse coalition of community advocates, elected officials, and labor groups have joined a statewide campaign to raise the minimum wage as the legislative session begins to wind down.  

They gathered in front of a fast food restaurant on Erie Boulevard Thursday to kick off their effort, which also includes empowering local governments to enact their own higher wages.  Citizen Action Organizing Director Rosemary Rivera says Governor Cuomo has said he supports a statewide minimum of $10.10 an hour, up from the current $8.00.

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2014 NY GUBERNATORIAL RACE
3:18 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Howie Hawkins Hopes to Capture Former Cuomo Supporters

Green Party Candidate for Governor Howie Hawkins speaks to the media Tuesday.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Green Party candidate for Governor Howie Hawkins of Syracuse says many disenfranchised Working Families Party members might see him as the only progressive option after party leaders endorsed democrat Andrew Cuomo.  

Hawkins says progressive voters feel Cuomo can't be trusted after flip-flopping on positions and walking back on promises made to the WFP.  He says the WFP and the Greens actually aren't that far apart on the issues.

Howie Hawkins says he was ignored by the leadership of the Working Families Party when he suggested they endorse him instead of Andrew Cuomo. He says he's still reaching out.

Hawkins says if he starts drawing votes, that will strengthen the WFP on the inside, and may move Cuomo to fulfill some of his promises.   He says WFP voters on social media are very unhappy with the governor, and many of them are turning to the Green Party.  Hawkins says the same feeling might also apply to some unions and other groups, and says he'll be seeking their endorsements, as well.  Meanwhile, he says he'll continue campaigning and explain Cuomo's real record.  

Howie Hawkins details the differences between himself and the major party candidates, and why he holds an advantage.

  Hawkins says Cuomo did manage to break the gridlock in Albany and pass a few progressive measures.  But he worries that’s the extent of what most people know.

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RAIL SAFETY
11:32 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Onondaga County: We're Prepared in the Event of an Oil Train Incident

A DOT 111A tank car sits on the edge of Lac Megantic's destroyed downtown last summer in Quebec.
Credit Brian Mann / North Country Public Radio (NCPR)

Onondaga County Emergency Management officials say there has been an increased focus on how to respond to any potential incident involving a train carrying crude oil.  The volume of shipments of volatile crude from North Dakota on what critics have called flawed, outdated tank cars has skyrocketed through the county on its way to the Port of Albany.  

  That’s raised concerns from federal, state, and city officials about the danger and ability to respond. 

Onondaga County Commissioner of Emergency Management Kevin Wisely explains how they're working with CSX railroad to prepare for any incident that may occur, including derailment of oil tank cars.

Wisely says he's also been on conference calls with state officials, and Gov. Cuomo has commissioned a task force to review incident prevention response capacity specific to crude oil.  He says the state is also working with the Federal Railroad Agency to inspect rails.  

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ROAD CONSTRUCTION
11:58 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Getting Around: Be Prepared for Delays and Detours Caused by Construction, Events

Road work along W. Fayette St. in April.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Orange barrels, lane closures, and detours are just about everywhere you go in and around Syracuse.  Here's the latest list from the  the City of Syracuse for the week of June 2 through June 8.

For more information, commuters can visit the City of Syracuse roadwork website, www.syrgov.net/roadwork.

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