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.

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2014 COMMENCEMENT
6:15 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

NY Attorney General Delivers Commencement Address to SU Law School Graduates

NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman addresses graduates from SU's College of Law.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

The state’s top lawyer provided some historical context Friday for the tradition that Syracuse University Law School grads are about to enter into.  Attorney General Eric Schneiderman delivered a commencement address to 212 juris doctor candidates and nine who earned a master of laws.     

Hear NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's entire speech to SU's Law School graduates.
  This year’s commencement was momentous for the entire law school.  Dean Hannah Arterian told the graduates they are the last to complete their education in the buildings on the “cliff” overlooking Irving Avenue. 
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SUSTAINABILITY
7:00 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

OCRRA Unveils New Food Waste Recycling Facility

Food waste arrives at the Amboy Facility
Scott Willis WAER News

The pizza crust or potato peel leftover from your meal at places like the OnCenter or Destiny USA restaurants ends up at a facility in Camillus that turns it into garden compost.  The Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency unveiled its Amboy food scrap composting facility on Thursday, which is  the largest in the state.  Spokesperson Kristin Lawton says haulers deliver the scraps, which enter a very specialized recycling process:

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CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION
11:47 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Rosamond Gifford Zoo Plans Ahead While Marking 100 Years

Director of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo Ted Fox and County Executive Joanie Mahoney announce a 20-year strategic master plan Tuesday.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse's Rosamond Gifford Zoo is mapping out its future while celebrating its 100th anniversary.  Officials Tuesday unveiled a 20-year strategic master plan that includes a combination of short and long term projects and a business plan.  

 County Executive Joanie Mahoney says the zoo has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a four acre plot with a few animals to 43 acres with more than 700. 

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BIRD MIGRATION BREAKTHROUGH
12:07 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Cornell Scientists Find Small Birds Use Wind Patterns for Looping Migration Routes

Blackpoll Warblers were one of the first species found to fly a different migration route in fall than in spring. The new research shows that many more songbird species migrate in similar elliptical, clockwise routes.
Credit Brian Sullivan

There's been somewhat of a breakthrough by researchers at Cornell University's lab of ornithology who have a better idea of just how small songbirds migrate.   Scientists have known for over a century that waterfowl like geese and ducks tend to follow the same, narrow migration paths.    But after combing through years of crowd-sourcing data, scientists can now say the travel habits of tiny land-based birds follow less-defined flyways, and instead depend on wind patterns.  LaSorte says until now, the migration of small songbirds was mostly speculation.

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WAER 88.3 FM
6:13 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

New, Modern Transmitter Powers WAER Into the Future

The transmitter is delivered to its home at Day Hall
Dan Gurzynski WAER News

Listeners on the fringes or weak spots of WAER's broadcast signal probably noticed a big change in recent days... they can actually hear us again!  The station recently  installed a new transmitter that brings our signal to it's FCC licensed 50,000 watts.   As radio equipment goes, WAER's old transmitter could no longer do the job, and was running at low power for months.  

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