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

More than 700 cyclists stopped in Syracuse Wednesday night on their trek across the state on the 20th annual Cycling the Erie Canal tour.  The ride also marks two other milestones:  The bicentennnial of the original canal, and the centennial of the barge canal.  WAER’S Scott Willis caught up with some of them earlier in the day at a rest stop at Sims store in Camillus, the halfway point between Buffalo and Albany on the 400 mile journey.  

Scott Willis / WAER News

The City of Syracuse Innovation team is looking for input from residents about challenges with…and ways to improve housing stability in their neighborhoods.   The first of three “ideation sessions” will be held Thursday at the Westcott Community Center.

provided photo / Ken Sturtz/Rescue Mission

The Rescue Mission broke ground Wednesday on a new $5.8 million expansion project to remodel its food service center in Syracuse.  The much-needed upgrade has been about two years in the making.  With lines often out the door, the additional space is designed to serve more meals to people and cut down on wait times. 

Carolyn Hendrickson with the Rescue Mission is ready to help the growing need for meals and housing.

"This project in particular is near and dear to my heart.  I'm so excited to see us at this juncture and seeing the project come to fruition."

Governor Cuomo's flickr page

For the second day in a row, Governor Cuomo held rallies criticizing President Donald Trump’s choice for the Supreme Court, and urging action on a measure that would protect the right to choose abortion in New York.

Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty images via NPR

President Trump’s appointee to the Supreme Court is sparking conversation among political observers here in Syracuse, as well as among the state’s elected officials. 

Professor of Political Science at the Maxwell School, Thomas Keck, says Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment means issues that had partisan debate in recent history would now be taking a consistently conservative bend. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse’s P-tech school at the Institute of technology received a guest Monday that they hope will champion the program on a national level. 

First daughter and presidential advisor Ivanka Trump praised the school, local colleges, and business partners for their roles in preparing the local workforce.

Ms. Trump hosted a roundtable discussion to learn more about how the specialized high school curriculum connects students to local companies through mentorships and job shadowing, which could lead to future jobs. 

Lindsay Hadlock / Cornell University

Central New Yorkers have grown all too accustomed to occasional beach closures over the summer due to unsafe levels of bacteria in the water. Cornell University and a bio-technology device maker are working on a new and much faster way to test the water and get swimmers back in the lake. 

For Ruth Richardson, this is where she says her heart meets her science.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The city of Syracuse is looking for some answers after a portion of wall fell from the elevated train tracks downtown Thursday.  Mayor Ben Walsh says for now, the debris has been cleaned up, but the portion of Clinton Street remains closed between Jefferson and West Onondaga streets.  He explains jurisdiction for the rail lines and the viaduct rest with the Federal Rail Administration and the New York Susquehanna and Western Railroad. 

Walsh wants to know if anyone knew the bridge was dangerous … and he’s looking for some information.

cnystem.com

Time is running out to sign up for a free summer program dedicated to giving young women an opportunity to develop tech skills and to explore STEM career paths.  The Girl’s Coding Program was created in partnership between AT&T and the CNY STEM Hub and is looking for 50 girls in 7th through 12th grade who want to gain hands-on experience with basic coding.  Director of Communications at SRC Lisa Mondello says with baby boomers retiring faster than ever, young women have a chance to break into the male-dominated tech industry.

mhanys.org

For the first time ever, public schools in Central New York and across the state are mandated to teach mental health awareness.  The idea is to help students understand their own well-being…and that of others who may be in distress.  

Director of the State Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Doctor Jay Carruthers  says a recent state survey shows that youth suicide attempts continue to rise.

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