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

Syracuse University /

A Syracuse University Mechanical Engineering student will be competing Thursday evening in Washington, DC after inventing a device the helps people manage their diabetes.

"It's a wearable glucose monitoring watch."

Senior Russell Fearon is one of the top nine candidates, and the only college student,  in the American Heart Association’s Empowered to Serve business accelerator program.

Scott Willis / WAER-FM 88.3

SUNY ESF and Clarkson University have partnered to co-lead a new Center of Excellence to research and solve threats to the state’s water resources.  CoE co-directors Chris Nomura of ESF and Robin Hannigan of Clarkson say both institutions have complementary skill sets to address problems in depth, from invasive species and harmful algal blooms, to pesticides and pharmaceutical drugs. 

Leo Tully / WAER News

Nearly a dozen corner stores in Syracuse are now participating in a program aimed at offering healthier food choices, especially to children.  A new report showed that more than 14 percent of children in New York have obesity, placing the state 25th in the country.  

Scott Willis / WAER News

Monday was Columbus Day on the calendar, but at Syracuse University and over a hundred other places across the nation, Native and Non-Native Americans gathered to mark Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Syracuse University sophomore Chase Scanlon from the Seneca Nation in Western New York and Regina Jones, Assistant Director of the Native Student Program shared their thoughts on Columbus Day.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

A first-ever report on childhood obesity finds 14.4% of children in New York ages 10 to 17 have obesity.  That’s slightly below the national average, and puts the state at 25th in the nation.

"New York kind of likes to position itself as a leader, especially among public health issues," said Caitlyn O'Brien. "So I definitely think it's a little bit shocking to see that we have such high rates of childhood obesity."

provided photo / Kristin Mosher/Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation


Monday marks the traditional Columbus Day holiday, but some members of the community will instead be celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day at Syracuse’s Inner Harbor.  Organizers say there’s been a growing movement to change the commemoration.   Andy Mager with Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation says they’re also trying to educate people about the slaughter and slavery brought about by Columbus and others that followed.

Scott Willis/WAER News

More than 50 Syracuse community members joined others across the nation Friday to protest the refugee camps along the Mexico-United States border.

“Close the camps!, close the camps!, close the camps!...” they chanted.

Worker’s Center of Central New York organizer Kayla Kelechian says President Trump’s immigration policies are adding to a pre-existing problem. 

Two Syracuse Companies to Add 400 Jobs as Part of Major Expansions

Oct 10, 2019
Governor Cuomo's flickr page

More than 400 new jobs will be created in Syracuse as two industry leading companies plan major expansions of their operations.  Bankers Healthcare Group will add 330 employees to its payroll, and JMA Wireless will hire 100 new workers.  

Scott Willis / WAER News

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand made a stop in Syracuse Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reverse decades of segregation and limited opportunity caused by I-81 through the city. 

Longtime Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick will be joined by his two opponents Thursday evening at a forum that aims to engage residents on the importance of the county’s top lawyer.