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 Chair of the State Republican Party says Central New York’s Congressional seats, as well as several state races are in play as voters continue to cast their ballots.  Nick Langworthy is confident Congressmember John Katko will defeat Dana Balter and keep his seat in the 24th district, and that Claudia Tenney will upset incumbent democrat Anthony Brindisi in the 22nd. 

WAER file photo

Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise in Onondaga County. Seventy new cases were confirmed in the region today, one of the highest single day jumps since the pandemic began. Most of the new cases come from community spread. County Executive Ryan McMahon said in a tweet that this data includes "some small clusters and one potential larger one."

White House Flickr

 A Syracuse University professor of law and political science is concerned that the increasingly partisan profile of the U.S. Supreme Court is translating to an erosion of its objectivity in the eyes of most Americans.


Scott Willis

  Anyone who's passed through Syracuse’s Hancock Airport in recent years has probably been perplexed by the awkward automated exit portals at the terminals.  Airport Authority Executive Director Jason Terreri says they’ve been replaced with more efficient security lanes.

Scott Willis / WAER News

COVID-19 contact tracers are very busy in Onondaga County after more than 100 new positive cases over the past two days.  Sixty-one were reported Wednesday, and County Executive Ryan McMahon announced another 46 Thursday.  A man in his 80’s with underlying medical conditions is the latest fatality. Hospitalizations are up to 25, with nine in intensive care.  McMahon says most of the virus activity can be attributed to community spread.

Women Join Dana Balter in Condemning John Katko's Campaign Ads

Oct 21, 2020

Twenty-fourth district Democratic Congressional Candidate Dana Balter is accusing incumbent John Katko of crossing a line with negative and misleading campaign ads.   

WAER file photo

Early voting starts Saturday in Onondaga County, but the six locations across 800 square miles could post challenges for those who don’t have transportation and still want to avoid potentially long lines on election day.;

Governor Cuomo’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic is figuring heavily into the race for the 128th assembly district, with both candidates leveling varying amounts of criticism for different reasons.  The district includes the southern and eastern portions of Syracuse, as well as Dewitt, Onondaga, Salina, and the Onondaga Nation.  WAER News caught up with incumbent Democrat Pam Hunter and Republican challenger Stephanie Jackson.

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 A Syracuse University Newhouse Professor is questioning decisions by Facebook and Twitter to limit access to an article that contained unverified sources and information about Joe Biden’s son.

Large companies might anticipate higher health premiums during a pandemic.  But one Upstate not-for-profit insurance company says it’s about to issue $17.6 million in medical premium refund credits from this spring. Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield Senior VP of Strategy and Performance Todd Muscatello says the company wants to ensure that programs remain affordable.