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-FM 88.3

Syracuse resident Valerie Hill seemed to have it all…a successful entrepreneur, stable finances…then it came crashing down.   She gave up her businesses to save her marriage, but the eventual divorce ruined her good credit, and she lost the house and car.  Then, Hill’s parents became ill, requiring hospitalization and nursing home care. 

file photo / WAER-FM 88.3

Dunbar is in her blood.  For Dunbar Association board member and treasurer Liz Page, it all began with nursery school more than 70 years ago.   In high school, she was a volunteer, then served later as a staffer and liaison to the United Way.

With the Iran Nuclear deal hanging by a thread, a Syracuse University national security expert says Iran is using it as a tool to push back against the US, Britain, and other allies to gain a stronger foothold in the region.  Corri Zoli is a law professor and Director of Research for the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at SU.

Onondaga County’s Town Supervisors and Village Mayors say the state DOT has not considered their input regarding the department’s recommendation of a community grid to replace the I-81 viaduct through Syracuse. 

Scott Willis / WAER-FM 88.3

It’s been just over a year since two 40-foot concrete sidewalls tumbled off a railroad bridge onto South Clinton Street in Syracuse.  Thankfully, no one was hurt, but the news was startling to those who live, work, and drive near the railroad viaduct that winds its way through the city.  Officials later learned that an inspection two years prior found several structures of the bridge posed at least some hazard.  

Scott Willis / WAER-FM 88.3

They’re as young as nine years old.  They come from gangs, or are orphans.  Some have been prostituted and trafficked.  Many started working before they were 10, and haven’t finished school.  The youth from the streets of Managua, Nicaragua are part of a group called the Nicavangelists, and brought their talents, culture, and hope to Syracuse Friday.

Several Central New York companies gathered Thursday to share how they’re weathering the trade war now that tariffs and retaliatory tariffs are starting to be felt by many industries.  The CNY International Business Alliance held its second monthly meeting, and director Steven King says the impact varies.

Scott Willis / WAER News

About 50 Central New York eighth graders are spending the week conducting experiments and other field work as they learn about the region’s watershed.

Onondaga County

County auditors conducting a recent review of Onondaga County’s Economic Development Office were denied access to PILOT agreements, an important source of revenue.  The Payments in Lieu of Taxes are one of the most common incentives requested by…and granted to developers to defray property taxes on projects large and small.  You might recall Destiny USA’s controversial 30-year deal. 

City of Syracuse


A park in the center of downtown Syracuse that has struggled to find its identity in recent years is about to get a facelift.  City councilors Monday approved an agreement for site preparation to begin soon at Perseverance Park on South Salina between Fayette and Washington Streets.