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 / Syracuse Peace Council

The president of the Islamic Society of Central New York says President Trump’s sudden immigration order is not the right way to keep the country safe.  Mohamed Khater says he was caught off guard by how quickly it took effect.

“I honestly did not think that it was going to happen because it probably would have to go through Congress, whether to approve it or disapprove it," said Khater.  "From my understanding from talking to everybody, Congress will not allow it to happen.”               / Sharon L. Ames, Esq.

The Trump Administration’s travel ban on refugees and others is creating confusion…and heartbreak for families in Central New York and across the nation.  The executive order will impact everyone from new refugees to those who’ve lived in the U.S. on visas for decades.

Long-time Syracuse immigration attorney Sharon Ames says the administration’s “drastic measure” will be felt here in Syracuse.  The resettlement of 220 refugees already approved to move to Syracuse has been halted.  Ames says she spoke with a man who knew of an affected Syrian family.

The peak of the flu season is upon us, and Central New Yorkers are still encouraged to get a flu shot if they haven’t already.  108 flu cases have been reported to the Onondaga County Health Department in the past week.  That compares to just one for the same week last year.   Kinney Drugs Pharmacy services manager Shannon Miller says the flu season this year is slightly out of the ordinary.

"We're seeing higher activity out of New York City and New York State in particular, in addition to about six other states that are seeing higher activity than normal," Miller said.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The race for Syracuse mayor officially includes another candidate  after Republican Laura Lavine (pronounced la-VYNE) announced her intentions Thursday.  The life-long Syracuse resident is pledging to work with everyone from residents to federal representatives on both sides of the aisle to address the city’s challenges.

Lavine knows Syracuse has seen difficult times.  But she says it’s nothing like the decline she’s seen in recent years.

Onondaga County Sheriff's Dept.

Two teenagers have been arrested and charged with attempted murder after allegedly shooting at a sheriff’s detective during an undercover drug sting Monday evening in DeWitt.  

Sheriff Gene Conway says they caught up with 16-year-old Isaiah Outley of Delray Ave., Syracuse and a 15-year-old Tuesday night after numerous tips and phone calls.  

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

President Trump revived the Keystone XL pipeline and Dakota Access pipeline with a highly publicized  executive order this week.  In New York State, Governor Cuomo’s administration has also acted, quietly, to further energy pipelines across New York State.

Scott Willis / WAER News

A Syracuse immigration attorney and a political science professor specializing in immigration have serious doubts about the legality of President Trump’s moves to punish “sanctuary cities” by withholding federal funding.  Syracuse and New York City are among those that could be affected.  Lawyer Jose Perez says his phone has been ringing almost non-stop since trump won the election.

"Panic.  If you asked me for one word, it would be panic," Perez said.  "Everybody who has something to lose in immigration has called me."

Scott Willis / WAER News

Two suspects remain at large after they fired multiple shots at a sheriff detective’s vehicle during an undercover drug investigation Monday evening.  It happened at the Springfield Garden Apartment complex near Le Moyne College in DeWitt, the site of previous incidents and homicides.

Onondaga County Sheriff Gene Conway says detectives were just setting up surveillance for a covert purchase of heroin when...

Scott Willis / WAER News

Plans are in place for phase two of the revitalization of the state fairgrounds, which aim to improve parking and access to the neighboring amphitheater.  Governor Cuomo’s proposal announced Monday also includes making the venue a year-round operation. 

Cuomo says he has accepted the recommendation of the State Fair Task Force created in November to come up with the next round of improvements.  He says one of the most exciting possibilities will address a transportation gap…

Scott Willis / WAER News

Just as Donald Trump was taking the oath of office Friday, about a dozen people with Syracuse Cultural Workers held large letters off the edge of the Spencer Street bridge over I-81 that spelled out the hashtag “Not our President.”    Most motorists seemed to honk in the affirmative, and gave a thumbs up.  A few gave angry honks accompanied by an extended middle finger.  Max from Oswego says they’re trying to reach the majority of Americans who didn’t vote for Trump.