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

They're from Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and  Macedonia.  Also, Germany, Ethiopia, and Guatemala.  Even Bolivia, South Korea and here in the U.S.  

  Nine student panelists from around the world spoke Wednesday at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School in commemoration of 20th anniversary of the United Nations Fourth  world conference on women. The panelists shared their personal stories of injustices faced as women in their own countries.

Scott Willis / WAER News

About a dozen projects in eight Onondaga County towns and villages hang in the balance after the Department of Housing and Urban Development abruptly changed income eligibility requirements.    Senator Chuck Schumer says HUD rescinded about half a million dollars in community development block grants.

Scott Willis / WAER News

A congressional delegation representing three key military installations across central and northern New York stopped by Hancock Air Base to make the case against potentially deep defense department budget cuts.  

  Freshman Republican Elise Stefanik represents Fort drum in the 21st district.  She says if the federal sequester budget is allowed to continue, it could have an impact on troop training…and consequences on military readiness.

ongov.net

Central New Yorkers who visit the state fairgrounds for any number events year-round or just the 12-day fair probably have ideas of how $50 million  in state money might be used to re-imagine the venue.    Many have probably seen or at least heard of the plan presented by County Executive Joanie Mahoney at her state of the county address to make the fairgrounds a more modern, vibrant, year-round attraction.  Acting fair director Troy Waffner says it’s still just conceptual.

  The shores of Onondaga Lake Park will be making serious waves this summer. The US Northeast Mid-Atlantic Masters Regional Championship (NEMA) will be held here in Syracuse. The county will be funding a new 7 lane 2,000 meters course.  The course will be located on the eastern shore of Onondaga Lake. Syracuse Chargers President Joe Bufano says it’s the first regatta here since 1993.

National Police Car Archives

The Syracuse Police Department is about to order 45 new police vehicles to upgrade its aging and run-down fleet.  Common councilors unanimously approved the $1.6 million in spending, but not without some discussion about the number of cars that go home with officers on a routine basis.  

Canadian Tamil Youth Alliance

The leader of the union representing tipped service workers in the Syracuse area says the base wage hike will not only benefit employees, but also the larger economy. The State Labor Department this week approved a $7.50 hourly wage to take effect at year's end for waitstaff, banquet servers, and other hospitality workers who also receive tips. President of Unite Here Local 150, Ann Marie Taliercio, says the 50% increase will help some at the bottom of the scale and shouldn't hurt business.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  

The leaders of five SUNY Schools today put their collective voices behind a plea to state lawmakers for more investment in their institutions as the they begin budget negotiations this week. The leaders gathered at SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry, where president Quentin Wheeler said almost half of the buildings in the SUNY System are 45 years old or older.

Chris Bolt/WAER News

UPDATED 2/25 @ 5:00 P.M. 

  Syracuse residents are getting their chance to say how they might walk along Onondaga creek, or bike or access a creek path from their neighborhood.   The first of three public meetings on expanding the Onondaga Creekwalk was last night.  Syracuse Facilities engineer Russell Houck has been working on phase two of the Creekwalk for two years and says the first portion has been beneficial.

There’s that recreation connection from downtown to the lake; it opened areas along that section as well.  We’ve seen additional development in the Inner Harbor are and I think the Creekwalk has had a big impact on that to promote that development.  We hope the Creekwalk phase II promotes some additional development south of the city as well.

There’s been a plan to extend the trail for years; a 2008 feasibility study laid out potential routes for the trail, but no plans are definite.  The City of Syracuse wants to find the best location for the trail and how it might integrate into various neighborhoods. Houck says individuals, developers, or commercial entities will see an improvement in a neighborhood and want to take part.

We talked about promoting development, improving the streetscape and the look of the neighborhoods along the creek corridor, creating more access to the creek corridor itself.  Those are the goals.  

  The second public meeting takes place Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. in the Southwest Community Center;  a third introductory meeting is March 4th at the MOST.  After those meetings, final design plans will be brought back in front of the public for more input.  

The City of Syracuse is starting to plan for the next phase of the Onondaga Creekwalk, and residents are invited to add their thoughts.  

  

PREVIOUS COVERAGE  

Three public information meetings will be held throughout the city to give the public an opportunity to comment on design options for Phase II of the  Creekwalk.  The proposed second phase of the Creekwalk will extend 2.2 miles, from Armory Square to West Colvin Street.

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