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

City of Syracuse /

Syracuse Common Councilors Monday took what’s being seen as a bold first step to give city residents the power to draw the boundaries of the five council districts.  The 7 to 1 vote to change the city charter makes Syracuse the first city east of the Mississippi to allow independent, non-partisan redistricting. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Youth and community advocacy groups in Syracuse are working with city police to try and bridge gaps between officers and neighborhoods.  The SPD has been making a concerted effort to connect with the residents they serve and nurture more positive interactions. 

New York Army National Guard/Brig. Gen. Ray Shields

Lake Ontario water levels continue to rise almost a half inch per day, so the threat of continued and additional shoreline flooding is still very real.  Renee Fox with Oswego County Emergency Management says their priorities haven’t changed since the waters began rising…protecting lives, infrastructure, and property.

Kellie Ellis

The number of children in Central New York who need foster parents far exceeds those willing to open their hearts and homes on a temporary or perhaps permanent basis.  As National Foster Care month winds down, we bring you the story of one family that’s grown after realizing the struggle to find homes for children in need.

John Smith/WAER News

Case of sexually transmitted disease spiked in the state in recent years, and ACR Health in Syracuse is now expanding testing options to find STD's that might have gone undetected in the past.

A Syracuse veteran who serve in the Marine Corps  for 16 years is urging Central New Yorkers to #gosilent this Memorial Day to remember those lost in combat.  Charlie Poag is a member of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which is leading the effort.  Americans are urged to pledge a full minute of silence at 3:00 pm Monday. 

"Turn the TV off.  Pause Facebook.  Pause Twitter.  Just reflect on what we have here in this country and why."

Scott Willis / WAER News

Farmworkers in Central New York and across the state are claiming victory after a state appellate court ruled Thursday that they have a constitutionally protected right to organize.  Crispin Hernandez filed suit in 2016 after he had gathered his co-workers after work hours in his personal residence to discuss workplace and living conditions.

Voters in Central New York and across the state this week maintained the trend of approving nearly all of their school district budgets.  This marked the 8th year of budgets with the state’s property tax cap in place.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Officials cut the ribbon Wednesday on a four story, 50 unit development on Syracuse’s near north side aimed at providing affordable and supportive housing.   The $17.6 million Catherine Street apartments includes 20 units for residents with low incomes and 30 for those with mental health diagnoses. 

John Smith / WAER News

More than 160 locally owned business enterprises introduced themselves Tuesday to many departments within Syracuse University who could potentially buy their goods or services in the future.