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 COVID-19 shutdown has halted nearly all travel and tourism, which includes the popular Finger Lakes wineries.   But the wine industry is considered part of the state’s essential agriculture sector, so most operations were allowed to continue…even if wine tours and busy tasting rooms are still weeks away.

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The CNY Diaper Bank is among the many non-profits trying to meet skyrocketing demand during the COVID-19 crisis.   The organization purchases diapers by the truckload to distribute to families in need.

Central New York workers' rights groups want to ensure workplaces are safe as the region prepares to start the reopening process.  While most might see restarting the economy as a sign of progress, others are worried about the area’s vulnerable residents.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon is confident the region will be able to enter phase one of reopening by the end of the week.  He and his colleagues in neighboring counties have been working on a regional approach for weeks now in preparation for when the area meets specific criteria set by the state.

Auburn Public Theater

We're wrapping up week seven of the COVID-19 shutdown, and we’re once again checking in with some of Central New York’s arts and culture venues to see how they’re coping.  WAER News caught up with Auburn Public Theater and found out they’re offering virtual programs four times a week.

WAER file photo

Passenger traffic is slowly starting to creep up at Syracuse’s Hancock airport, but officials say volume is still consistently down 90 to 95 percent from pre-COVID-19 numbers.  Airport Authority Executive Director Jason Terreri says as travelers return, they’ll probably notice some changes.

There’s still plenty of money available for Central New York’s small businesses that might have missed out on….or were denied access during the first round of the popular Paycheck Protection Program loans.  Small Business Administration Upstate District Director Bernard Paprocki says $100 billion is up for grabs.


The City of Syracuse officially has a $251 million budget in place for the new fiscal year starting July first, but a lot could change in the months ahead.  There were unusual circumstances that led to Wednesday’s vote by common councilors.

We know by now that children are the most common “silent carriers” of the novel coronavirus…they might have the virus, but not show any symptoms.  WAER News checks in with a Syracuse pediatrician about the challenges facing doctors and parents during this pandemic.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Dozens of people waving American flags and holding signs saying “Free CNY” gathered in front of the state office building today demanding that Governor Cuomo re-open parts of Upstate that have lower rates of COVID-19.