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

John Smith / WAER News

A Local Veterans Day observance at the War Memorial in Syracuse this morning honored all Veteran’s both past and present.

 “The bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there” the choir sang.

The Spirit of Syracuse Choir and the spoken word describing the countless sacrifices of brave men and women of all wars were equally moving. Vietnam Veteran Gordie Lane

Shoshana Stahl / WAER News

Governor Andrew Cuomo stopped by Syracuse Thursday to help wrap up a three-day convention on unmanned aviation systems, or drones, that attracted companies from across the nation and beyond.  He used the opportunity to commit $30 million  in additional funding to expand drone testing in the region.  

Cuomo made his intentions clear when he began his remarks to hundreds of attendees at the Oncenter.

"I'm here because I want you and this industry located in Central New York," Cuomo said to applause. "That doesn't just happen by chance."

nysenate.gov

If the numbers hold, Republicans are poised to remain in control of the State Senate, and even pick up a seat when the senate reconvenes in January.  The news has reassured business groups but dismayed reform advocates.

The numerical majority  means many of the same issues that were gridlocked in the legislature in the past are likely to remain so, including , the Dream Act, which would provide college aid to children of undocumented immigrants, abortion rights measures, and ending the incarceration of 16 and 17 year olds in adult prisons.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Officials at ACR Health in Syracuse are urging clients not to hesitate to enroll in a health care plan despite the uncertainty of the affordable care act under a President Donald Trump. 

"The Affordable Care Act is still law.  Until that changes, we are going forward," said Brian Van Benschoten, Insurance Programs Coordinator

Scott Willis / WAER News

After six months of deliberating, Syracuse Common Councilors Monday passed a new ordinance that prohibits landlords from turning away tenants who receive federal assistance.  Long-time advocate for those with disabilities Agnes McCray says the measure is a good first step for residents with any disability to get equal access to affordable housing. 

Two seasoned public servants are vying for the 126th Assembly District.  Current Representative, Republican Gary Finch has been in office since 2000 and owns a small business.  Democrat Diane Dwire is a Veteran, she once chaired the Onondaga Democratic Committee.  Finch says he has several initiatives he wants to accomplish including green algae issues in Owasco Lake and the heroin epidemic.

John Smith / WAER News

Flu season is upon us, and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney got her flu shot in hopes of encouraging residents to do the same to stay healthy.  The county is once again offering the vaccine free at its walk-in clinic.  Mahoney says it's quick and easy.

"It was short and sweet and painless," Mahoney said.  "It's something we're asking everybody to do to keep all of us safe.  It's not only good for people to get for themselves, but it's good for your co-workers, for your family.  Flu season is right around the corner."

twitter.com @nysendems

There’s a greater chance than ever that the Senate could be dominated by Democrats after the November 8th election.  Many issues stalled in the Republican led Senate for years would now have a possibility of passing.

Campaign finance reform,  the Dream Act- which offers college tuition support to the children of undocumented immigrants- and more money for underperforming schools are just a few of the topics that might be approved under a Senate controlled by Democrats.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Onondaga County residents will soon be able to see how their neighbors voted thanks to a new Results Caster system.  Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny says anyone can go to their website to see how individual districts reported on each race on Election Night.  He demonstrates how to use the system using 2015 election data from the county executive race.

savetherain.us

Crews are expected to being working Saturday to repair a leak in a pipeline that released some raw sewage into the southern part of Onondaga Lake last Friday. High flows from last week’s heavy rain put enough pressure on the 50-year-old pipe to cause the leak.

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