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

Syracuse-area immigrants and their allies are joining a nationwide effort calling on a federal pathway to citizenship and other relief for undocumented immigrants.  Just over a dozen advocates gathered in a steady rain Thursday afternoon to continue the Relay Across America that began a month ago in Washington DC.  Kayla Kelechian is with the CNY chapter of the New York Immigration Coalition.  She says now is the time to make progress on a number of fronts.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The East Syracuse-Minoa school district is one of many Central New York School Districts receiving a share of a record $1.1 billion in education funding in the new state budget.  ESM will get an additional $3.4 million, or an 11.5% increase. 


A Syracuse University Management Professor says the vote against unionizing an Amazon warehouse in Alabama is still a victory for the labor movement.  The final vote tally was about 1,798 to 738.  Whitman School Assistant Professor Lynne Vincent says organizers shouldn’t be disheartened.


Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh says his proposed budget positions the city for recovery from the pandemic after withstanding the first wave of damage.  His nearly $265 million budget comes in about $12 million more than last year, and uses about $21 million, or one-fifth of the federal relief package.

WAER file photo / WAER News

Central New York School Districts are expecting a significant increase in funding after State Lawmakers struck a deal to include a record amount of school aid in the 2022 Fiscal Year Budget.

John Smith WAER News

Onondaga County is investing $5.5 million to address the growing need for mental health resources at schools. The county and its partners will hire dozens of professionals to help students who might be struggling with isolation, economic hardship, or other fallout from the pandemic. 


John Smith / WAER News

Syracuse Police Detectives have a lead suspect in the murder of a 93-year-old woman at the Skyline Apartment building last week. Authorities are charging 23-year-old Victoria Afet with first degree murder in connection to the death of Connie Tuori.

WAER file photo

Syracuse pedestrians will soon see changes to dozens of intersections and crosswalks in the downtown area. This fall, a total of 140 intersections and crossings will be updated or built as part of the city’s Complete Streets project. The project aims to make streets safer for walkers, bikers, and drivers alike.

WAER file photo

Syracuse Common Councilors are considering a security plan to address the crisis at the Skyline Apartment Complex. Syracuse Police First Deputy Chief Joe Cecile says they have a plan that they're hoping the owner of the building will sign off on.

Onondaga Community College

Onondaga Community College is planning to fully open campus for face-to-face instruction this fall in the hope of returning to some sense of normal.  President Dr. Casey Crabill says they’ll closely follow county, state, and SUNY guidance as August 30th approaches.