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

Scott Willis / WAER News

The Syracuse City School District has reached an agreement with city government to hire  – and pay for – police officers to serve as School Resource Officers.   Common Councilor and former police chief Steve Thompson says the choice is left up to the district to determine where officers are needed.

"Instead of hiring an additional officer for the school, maybe they can hire security or other individuals to watch the different areas of the school, such as entrances.  There's a whole montage of things they could do.  It's up to them.”        

Scott Willis / WAER News

About 100 people gathered in Columbus Circle Monday morning for the annual wreath laying ceremony to honor Christopher Columbus and the contributions of Syracuse’s Italian community.   The event began with the Italian national anthem sung by students of the Josephine Federico school of music. 

The celebration comes amid a growing effort to also mark “Indigenous people’s Day.”  Gardino says it’s not intended to disrespect Native Americans. 

President of the American Italian Heritage Association Frank Ricciardiello acknowledges Columbus’ flaws.

WAER File Photo

Onondaga Community College has been awarded a $3 million federal grant to help low-income students succeed. Out of the 10,000 students on campus, three-quarters of OCC’s first time students are identified as low-income.


navy.mil

A high-ranking naval officer with roots in Central New York is spending a few days in his hometown, visiting students of all ages to talk about his long career in the Navy. 


shoppingtownmall.com

Time is ticking away this month for the current owners of Shoppingtown Mall to pay up on back taxes as Onondaga County prepares to potentially seize the property. The County has several choices on how to move forward with property, but the town of Dewitt is hoping that it doesn’t get auctioned off to private owners. 


nysenate.gov

Senator Dave Valesky had decided to end his campaign for re-election, saying the time has come to move on.  Valesky narrowly lost the democratic primary to Rachel May earlier this month.  He released a statement today that indicated the difficult choice he had to make.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The ongoing debate over reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, in Congress appears to have taken on new meaning in light of the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.  Those who advocate on behalf of survivors of sexual assault in Central New York feels lawmaker’s support of a long-term solution will speak volumes about where they stand.

Scott Willis/WAER News

There will be an unexpected change at the top of Onondaga County government this fall after County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced Monday that she will step down to take an administrative post at SUNY ESF.  Mahoney has one year left in her third term in office, but she felt now was the time to accept the offer as Chief Operating Officer. 

File Photo

Most Central New Yorkers might consider it common knowledge that compounds derived from marijuana, called cannabinoids, are effective at reducing or relieving pain.  But a first-of-its kind systematic review by Syracuse University of existing research on that notion might change the perception of how the drugs work. 


Erron Franklin / WAER News

Republican Marc Molinaro continues his tour across New York calling out Governor Cuomo for ongoing corruption and its impact on state business and eroding public trust.   Molinaro’s visit to Syracuse Thursday came on the same day Cuomo Administration official Joe Percoco was sentenced to six years for accepting bribes from leaders of state contractors. 


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