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

cnysme.org

One of the officials closely tied to business development for the City of Syracuse during the past six years is taking a job in the private sector.  Deputy Commissioner Ben Walsh has led the way on a number of important projects, but knows many challenges remain.  He says things have taken shape since he was appointed in 2010 at the end of the recession.

John Smith / WAER News

A class of 25 new Syracuse Police Officers was sworn in today.  Chief Frank Fowler got things started:

"Recruit class...are you ready?"  

"Yes, Sir!”   

  But Monday's ceremony was only the beginning for the cadets.  The Officers must endure 26 weeks of additional training. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

There’s growing concern among Central New York dairy farmers that Canada is considering changing trade rules that could restrict its import of U.S. milk products.   

  Senator Chuck Schumer stopped by Cayuga Milk Ingredients in Auburn today, a conglomerate of 25 dairy farms doing $25 million in yearly sales to Canada alone.  Schumer says the proposal would be harmful.

Scott Willis / WAER News

St.  Joseph’s Hospital and several partner organizations are hoping a new three-year,$1.5 million dollar grant will help to make communities healthier by addressing the root causes of poor health.  Syracuse was one of six communities to be awarded a grant.

Dr. Bechara Choucair says he knew almost immediately that Syracuse would be a top contender.  He’s Senior Vice President for Safety Net Transformation and Community Health at Trinity Health, which awarded the grant.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney delivered perhaps her most passionate state of the county address to date last night, outlining her administration’s accomplishments while also addressing the community’s significant challenges.  Perhaps the biggest surprise came when she announced Syracuse’s Say Yes college tuition fund would be permanently endowed.

Jeddy Johnson / WAER News

Syracuse-area minority entrepreneurs often face additional barriers in the business world that can discourage them right at the start.  In our final installation celebrating Black History Month, we hear from one motivated business owner who is actually enjoying some success thanks to a program that breaks down barriers.

A Liverpool man decided it was time to launch his own business when he was laid off from his high-paying job at New Process Gear after 14 years.

Excellus BCBS

  The percentage of people without health insurance in upstate New York is less than half the national average.  Information from Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield suggests employers and Obama-care are helping keep the region healthier.  Excellus Regional President Jim Reed says many not-for-profit insurers and a higher percentage of plans through people’s workplaces are key.

Arise Facebook Page

 Leadership at ARISE, a nonprofit Independent Living Center run by and for people with disabilities, is in transition as executive director Tom McKeown prepares to retire after 14 years at the helm. 

Philip Cohen / Wikimedia Commons

  The Public Service Commission (PSC) has nixed a plan that would have extended the life of a Cayuga County coal-fired power plant. In 2012, the owners of the Cayuga Power Plant, Upstate New York Power Producers, Inc, told the state it wasn’t economically viable to run and they wanted to close it. But, concerned about the reliability of the electric grid, the PSC ordered them to submit a plan to add the capacity to burn natural gas as well as coal.

smtcmpo.org

Syracuse-Area residents  are getting a first look at a study examining the possibility of bus rapid transit or light rail transit along two pre-determined corridors through the city.  Transportation officials say it’s an early step in a long process to improve public transit in areas that use it the most.

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