Chris Bolt

News Director

Maybe I was destined for a career in radio when I built my first stereo receiver from a Heathkit box…then later spent time running wires over beer-stained floors for local bands in Colorado bars.  I remember becoming enamored with Public Radio's story-telling style covering an exiled music group that had come to Syracuse from El Salvador.  The piece involved interviewing through an interpreter and mixing in the music with a strongly-political story of death squads.  Over the next 23 years I’ve enjoyed covering the issues, people, events, challenges and accomplishments of Central New York. 

I came to Syracuse to finish a Broadcast Journalism degree at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School.  I’ve worked at WAER since 1990 and truly enjoy our mission of educating and engaging the community, while training aspiring journalists and broadcasters.  I’m passionate about the area’s lifestyle and efforts to improve its vitality.   When not on a story, in a studio or editing and mentoring students, I can probably be found outside.  I love Central New York’s natural areas and waterways, as well as golfing and biking opportunities.  

Ways to Connect

Chris Bolt/WAER News

The death toll is rising at the nation’s Veterans’ Hospitals .... and not just among the patients.  Records released to WAER news by the Department of Veterans Affairs show at least 23 VA employees have died of COVID 19 nationwide.  And in Syracuse, VA employees have not escaped infection.  


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Nearly one in every eight New Yorkers might have contracted the coronavirus, according to preliminary results from a series of antibody tests conducted by the state in recent weeks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.

City of Syracuse

Mayor Ben Walsh wanted to reassure Syracuse residents about a range of city services, while discussing some financial  realities that are having some negative impacts, during a briefing Friday. 


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Many people are struggling to get unemployment benefits here in Central New York, or they’re waiting weeks to find out if they qualify.  One East Syracuse woman’s dilemma goes even deeper.

New York’s labor department is getting flooded with calls for unemployment benefits, at the peak almost a million calls a day, compared to 50,000-a-week before the shutdown. 

Governor Cuomo says the state has boosted the number of processors from about 400 to 3100 to help people get signed up.

Chris Bolt/WAER News

Have you given much thought to what kind of things you will and won’t do once the economy and society opens up after the coronavirus shutdown?  A Mower study finds people will be most comfortable going to work, visiting family and going to the doctor or dentist.  A third or more would do those activities on day one after reopening the economy. 


Chris Bolt/WAER News

To wrap up Earth Week, A Cornell University Climate expert shares some optimism and suggestions about New York State reaching its emissions goals.  Bob Howarth is on the task force for the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). 


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Many local groups would have traditionally used this week to raise awareness and inspire action about environmental causes, from climate change to clean water and air, to pollution.  Wednesday is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, though attention to it is overshadowed by the corona virus pandemic. 


A fund set up to help local non-profit agencies deal with a wide range of impacts from the COVID-19 crisis has given out more than half-a-million dollars in help.  But the Central New York Community Foundation, which is managing it, is seeing what president Peter Dunn calls ‘staggering demand’.  It didn’t take long for safety-net type of services to fall short, such as the CNY Diaper Bank.


Chris Bolt/WAER News

Unemployment Insurance has been expanded and extended, benefitting many Central New Yorkers who find themselves out of work.  But not everyone is having an easy time getting the financial support.  One local legal group is on a mission to help.


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The coronoavirus is dominating most people’s attention.  But it was a big week last week for the Presidential campaign of Joe Biden.  A string of key endorsements can help pave his path forward.

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