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

Jason Chen/WAER News

  When you think of a hospital Emergency Room, the words fantasy and whimsy aren’t the first that come to mind. Today Upstate University Hospital opened its new Pediatric E.R. aimed at giving a more kid-friendly experience to younger patients. Chair of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Gary Johnson understands how difficult a hospital visit can be for families.

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

A routine oversight hearing by the state Assembly turned testy when Governor Cuomo’s Economic Development Czar, Howard Zemsky, endured over two hours of questions about Governor Cuomo’s economic development programs, which are currently under federal investigation.

  Zemsky answered questions for over two hours from Democratic and Republican Assemblymembers, who wanted to know why the economic development program known as Start UP, which offers a ten year tax break for new high tech businesses who locate on college campuses , is seeming to take so long to begin.


Onondaga and Oswego counties are among 20 others to fall under a newly issued drought warning by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.   Governor Cuomo says in a release that recent rains helped to reduce the severity of drought conditions to the east.  But much of the state from Onondaga county westward didn’t receive enough rain.

The Syracuse Chiefs baseball team has a new lease at NBT Bank stadium that includes more support from Onondaga County.  It appears both sides want to keep the team in Syracuse despite some lingering struggles.  Chiefs General Manager Jason Smoral says the contract approved by county lawmakers  provides essential support for the next ten years…

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Dozens of protestors traveled to Albany Monday to protest the Public Service Commission’s decision to approve large subsidies for Upstate nuclear power plants. Nuclear Information and Resource Center Executive Director Tim Judson says nuclear power has gotten too expensive.

Scott Willis / WAER News

About two dozen up and coming leaders from countries across Africa are heading home after spending the past six weeks as part of a fellowship program at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.  Political consultant and strategist Ciri Ba of Senegal says the Young African Leadership Initiative was a reality check in terms of understanding his fellow Africans.

  Governor Cuomo got his moment on the convention stage Thursday night before Hillary Clinton’s speech.   He started the speech by mentioning his father, and Mario Cuomo’s famous 1984 Tale of Two Cities speech at the San Francisco convention 32 years ago.  

Cuomo then went on to list his accomplishments, including raising the minimum wage in New York, and enacting paid family leave and marriage equality, and  banning hydro fracking.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  Thirty girls from Syracuse-area high schools are the first to complete the region’s inaugural science, technology, engineering and math summer camp.   The week-long CNY Stem Summer Camp for Young Women was hosted by Le Moyne College.  Camp director Meriel Stokoe says many similar camps end in middle school.

That's why this camp was so perfect," Stokoe said.  "I've heard from a few of them that they kind of aged out of stuff.  So, I'm hoping in the future that people won't forget about high school girls.”                                 

Scott Willis, WAER News / Twitter @AGSchneiderman

  New York's senior senator has never been one to shy from the spotlight or a podium, so Chuck Schumer had both Wednesday in front of the New York delegation at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.  Perhaps most notably, he expressed opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership, and that there would be major changes in trade deals if he becomes Senate Majority Leader.

Matt D'Ambrosi / WAER News

  The GOP convention has wrapped up in Cleveland, and it’s probably no surprise there are starkly different opinions about the republican nominee.  WAER News brings reaction from trump supporters and a history professor.

Cazenovia College Professor John Robert Greene says what struck him about the convention overall was how little control there was by the Trump campaign.  Too many unscripted moments, rookie errors, protests, plagiarism…