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

A political science professor at Colgate University says New York’s antiquated election system clearly wasn’t up to the task of handling the razor-thin margin in the 22nd congressional district race.  Colgate lies in the expansive district which sweeps from the eastern tip of Lake Ontario down to the Pennsylvania line. 


Scott Willis / WAER News

Central New Yorkers will be watching with interest starting Tuesday as the impeachment trial of former President Trump gets underway in the Senate.  He’s being tried in connection to last month’s insurrection at the US Capitol building that resulted in five deaths.  New York Senator and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and minority leader Mitch McConnell reached agreement on the rules Monday. 


CNY Arts facebook page

Central New York’s live performance spaces and other arts venues are hoping their efforts to reach audiences virtually over most of the past year pay off when patrons return in person after the pandemic.  But it hasn’t always been easy, and not all have been able to purchase equipment or have the technical expertise to make the transition. 


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Syracuse University is preparing to re-open its doors to in-person learning for the spring semester on Monday under very different circumstances from the fall.  Vice Chancellor Mike Haynie says it will be challenging.


Screenshot / League of Women Voters

The influential, non-partisan League of Women Voters of New York is getting behind universal health care.  The decision to update their decades-old position comes after more than a year of research and discussions among the chapters, and growing momentum for a publicly funded system. 


WAER file photo

It appears the agency charged with overseeing police-community relations in Syracuse was not consulted for its input in the city’s police reform draft plan.  The Citizen Review Board, or CRB, is struggling to get its voice heard, and CRB administrator Ranette Releford says she’s frustrated.


Chris Bolt / WAER News

A former parking lot at a prime downtown location will now be bustling with food vendors, customers, and residents.  Community, business, and elected leaders cut the ribbon today to officially open The Salt City Market off Salina, Clinton, and Onondaga Streets. 


WAER file photo

Onondaga County Health officials are growing increasingly concerned that the opioid addiction crisis is worsening because of…and being overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta is sounding the alarm after the county saw a 40 percent increase in opioid overdose deaths through September of last year compared to 2019.  She says their overdose tracking system shows the trend continued over the past two months.

provided photo / Tom Dumont

The annual tradition that normally draws thousands to Syracuse University to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be virtual this year.  But organizers like Dean of Hendricks Chapel Brian Konkol say it’s still drawing plenty of interest. 


Scott Willis / WAER News

Onondaga County is trying to ease some of the frustration for seniors and their families who’ve been trying without success to schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine.  When slots open, they’re almost immediately filled by other eligible patients before seniors even have a chance to sign up. 


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