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

More than 200 people from across the state packed a sold-out conference room in Syracuse Friday to learn more about what could be the next significant development in solar energy.  

  Community…or shared solar could bring the renewable energy source to those who otherwise don’t have access.

Scott Willis / WAER News

St. Patrick's day in Syracuse is when nearly everyone tries to wear something green and becomes Irish at heart.  We caught up with a few genuine Irish folks at the annual ceremony at Stonethrower’s park on Tipperary Hill.

Many native Central New Yorkers trace their Irish heritage back many generations to the 1800's.  But some like Ellen Kriegenstack are first generation Irish-American.  She grew up in County Kerry, and came to Syracuse in 1967 on an American passport.  Her father served in the U.S. for 30 years. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

More than 250 veterans and active members of the military gathered in Onondga Community College's SRC Arena Wednesday in hopes of networking, learning, and growing as entrepreneurs and business owners.  

  It was part of the Small Business Administration’s 9th annual Operation: Start Up and Grow Conference.

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  School districts in Central New York and across the state are wondering just what state aid they’ll receive now that the assembly and senate have rolled out their one-house education budget proposals.  Doctor Rick Timbs says districts are hedging their bets.  He is executive director of the Statewide School Finance Consortium based in the Syracuse area.

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It appears more Upstate New Yorkers are resorting to opiates and surgery to address back pain over simpler, more effective treatments.  There’s concern that could be leading to worse outcomes.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse common councilors took time out Monday to recognize 18 accomplished middle and high school students who are heading to a world robotics competition in Kentucky next month.  The Corcoran Cougar robotics team was one of the teams from the Syracuse City School District to advance from the Northern New York State championship at OCC. 

   Junior Kelsey Lent-Moore says it wasn’t a bad showing considering they scrapped their original design after one of the competitions.

Madison Schleicher / WAER News

More than a dozen concerned Syracuse-area residents marked the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown in Japan by gathering in front of the state office building to criticize Governor Cuomo’s support of the industry.

Clean energy advocate Renee Vogelsang said the Prime Minister of Japan has since become a fierce nuclear critic, saying Japan should eliminate its dependence on nuclear energy.

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  About 2,300 Onondaga County union workers will be compensated for lost wages after a majority of members voted to accept the county’s settlement offer for an Improper Practice charge brought by the union. 

The charge stemmed from Onondaga County’s approval of a retroactive, three-year contract back in February.  But the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), citing state law, said anything more than a one-year contract can only be put in place if the union agrees to it, which it did not.  

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Nearly 1/4 of Onondaga County Taxpayers are being encouraged to use the state's free tax filing services.  The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance says those with gross income under $62,000 can save the cost of hiring a preparer and file both federal and state returns at no cost at
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Chances are many Central New Yorkers who work for a smaller business don’t have an employer-provided retirement savings plan.  That could change if a state-facilitated, payroll deduction plan called “Secure Choice” is approved in the state budget.  

  The AARP is pushing state lawmakers to include it in their spending plans.  The group’s state legislative representative Bill Ferris acknowledges workers do have the option of setting up their own IRA outside of work.  But most don’t bother.