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

cdc.gov

The recent occasional warm spells we’ve seen in Central New York not only get people outside to enjoy the weather, but also ticks.  Nick Piedmonte has conducted extensive research on ticks, specifically the prevalent Blacklegged or deer tick found in this region. 

Dozens Gather to Remember Those With Disabilities Killed by Their Caregivers

Mar 1, 2017
ASAN-Vancouver / Autistic Self-Advocacy Network

About 45 people gathered in Goldstein Auditorium on the Syracuse University Campus Wednesday afternoon to remember the lives of people with disabilities that were cut short by their caregivers.  They took part in Freshman Priya Penner helped to organize the vigil to commemorate the Disability Day of Mourning.

“This is wrong.  It's not OK to murder anybody, but especially people with disabilities, because I guess we are viewed as less than, because we are viewed as.. I don't even know. I don't understand, honestly, why people think this is ok.” 

Maxwell Alumni Blog

The Director of National Security Studies at Syracuse University is concerned that President Trump’s proposal to increase military funding by $54 billion hasn’t been carefully thought out.  Federal programs like the EPA, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid could see drastic cuts in order to give more money to the military. Bill Smullen, at SU’s Maxwell School, said Trump’s priorities seem to conflict with that of his own Secretary of Defense and former Marine Corps General James Mattis.

Provided photo / Bonnie Russell, West Genesee Schools

The Superintendent of West Genesee Schools says the number of overdoses and deaths from the heroin and opioid epidemic has recently climbed back up in the community after a noticeable drop last year.   Dr. Christopher Brown hopes the help offered at Monday evening's addiction, recovery, and resource  can bring crime and addiction rates down.

The Syracuse City School Board could soon develop a policy requiring new school district hires to live within city limits.  Syracuse Common Councilors passed a resolution today that asks the School Board to create and enact such a residency policy.  The measure was sponsored by Councilor Susan Boyle, who hopes to build on a similar resolution from 2006.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Dozens of government, non-profit and private sector companies and organizations will be on hand at SUNY ESF Wednesday to help connect students and others to careers in the environment. John Turbeville, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Director of Career Services at ESF, said the 16th annual networking event is their only career fair.

“This is our Super Bowl, it’s something we look forward to every single year.”

Scott Willis / WAER News

More than a dozen Syracuse-area parishioners are spending this week in Nicaragua to help combat maternal mortality and support infant health.  Since the early 1990's, parishioners have been providing money and supplies to the Health Care Ministry in the in the Villanueva community.  Charles Clinton, one of the group’s leaders, notes how important the trip is to the community.

"You would see on the walls of the program center photographs of people from previous trips," Clinton said.  "They're in their memories, and definitely in their spirits."

Scott Willis / WAER News

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says the swift opposition from some officials about the recommendation of a metropolitan government amounts to nothing more than scare tactics and fear mongering.  We caught up with Mahoney to round out our series on the potential impact of the Consensus Commission’s final report.

Mahoney says she’s always been a proponent of more efficient government, and has continued the county’s track record of combining city and county departments. 

centerstateceo.com

The head of the region’s leading business development group says the consensus commission’s report present opportunities to streamline operations for developers.  It's the latest of many perspectives in our series examining the potential impact of the commission’s recommendations.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The chairman of the Onondaga county legislature says they will not bring a proposal for a new metropolitan government to the ballot this year.  The decision comes a week after the consensus commission recommended the combination of city and county government in its final report.  Ryan McMahon says the debate has just begun and the decision will not be rushed.

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