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

Here's the latest information on the storm's  impact for Wednesday:

·        A travel advisory remains in effect until 5 p.m. in Onondaga County.  The snow is expected to be lighter, but winds will cause blowing and drifting.  The advisory does not restrict travel, but officials urge residents to consider the need to be on the roads so crews can continue to plow them.

Chris Bolt / WAER News

  LATEST UPDATE:  The SU Men's Basketball NIT Game against UNC Greensboro at the Carrier Dome has been postponed until Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.  Tickets already purchased for today's game will be honored. Join us for coverage starting tomorrow at 6:30 on WAER. 

Here's a summary of the essential information we have thus far:

Chris Bolt / WAER News

Here's a summary of the essential information we have thus far:

·        A travel advisory remains in effect until midnight in Onondaga County due to hazardous driving conditions.  The snow is expected to continue today, heavy at times, with blowing and drifting.  The advisory does not restrict travel, but officials urge residents to consider the need to be on the road during the storm.

·        Meanwhile, Madison County has declared a state of emergency, banning all traffic except emergency and essential personnel from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.  Violators face arrest.

Environmental activists say Central New York and the rest of the state could be breathing cleaner air if it weren't for a delays in fully implementing a decade-old law.

The act is called the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, DERA for short, and would apply to all heavy duty vehicles like plows and dump trucks in the state's fleet. The measure actually had nearly unanimous bi-partisan support when it was passed in 2006, but Travis Proulx with Environmental Advocates of New York says nearly 11 years later, they're still waiting.

Governor Cuomo has declared a statewide state of emergency for the duration of the major Nor’easter expected to hit the state overnight.

Governor Cuomo says snowfall totals are expected to be at least 20 inches and   up to 2 feet in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson valley and Capital Region, and 10 to 20 inches for most of the rest of the state- including Western New York where portions of the Rochester area have been without power for the past several days due to a violent wind storm.

Governor Cuomo’s health department is analyzing the plan in the Republican Congress to overhaul Obama care, and finds it carries a heavy price tag for New York.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Thursday marked the first day on the job for Jaime Alicea as the new superintendent of the Syracuse city schools.   The Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday night to remove the word “interim” from his title.

Alicea says he never thought he’d become superintendent when the Puerto Rican native  began as a kindergarten teaching assistant at Seymour Elementary in 1983.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney used the occasion of her 10th state of the county address Tuesday evening to calm some of what she called the “fearmongering” over the Consensus Commission’s recommendations to modernize local government. 

"There is not a single thing written in the Consensus report that will spell disaster for anyone."

Such has been the rhetoric from the mayor to the county legislature over the main recommendation to combine Syracuse and Onondaga County.

Onondaga County Lawmakers approved the sale of “Lot 17” today, which is perhaps better known as the parking lot used for the Oncenter downtown. The law approved the sale of the nearly three acre lot to the local developer PEMCO for $2.5 million.  Legislature Chair Ryan McMahon said the developer plans to build a $135 million complex, including student housing, restaurants and retail space. @RepJohnKatko

Congressmember John Katko is weighing in on issues ranging from wiretaps to town hall meetings as the Trump Administration and Congress continue their rocky start.  As we’ve heard, President Trump has accused former President Obama of wiretapping phones in trump tower before the election.  While Trump has offered no proof, Katko says as a former federal prosecutor, he knows it shouldn’t be too hard to find out.