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

provided photo / Mack Richardson

A progressive Downtown Syracuse Church established by a group of Christian abolitionists in the 1850's has its first African American Pastor.  Plymouth Congregational Church has a nearly 170 year history  of fighting against slavery, poverty, and war.

Syracuse-area residents will gather at a church this Sunday for more than worship.  It’s the second in a three-part discussion about 400 years of inequality in Syracuse and across the nation. 

creative commons


 UPDATE:  Syracuse University's Board of Trustees announced Thursday the formation of an Independent Advisory Panel, in conjunction with a newly formed Board of Trustees Special Committee on University Climate, Diversity, and Inclusion.  Together, they will assess and provide recommendations regarding programs, policies, and initiatives designed to foster and strengthen diversity and inclusion on campus.

Syracuse Police Department / Twitter

A Syracuse Common Councilor is delaying a vote on a tentative contract with the police union, saying the total cost of the agreement might be much more than originally estimated.  Finance committee chairman Tim Rudd says instead of $12 million, it could be more than $20 million. 

Scott Willis / WAER-FM 88.3

A Syracuse University professor is using social media to bring the community together following a series of racist incidents that made some students feel unsafe on their own campus.

Utica-area congressmember Anthony Brindisi brought Upstate priorities to the White House on Friday, where he and a handful of other key lawmakers had the ear of Vice President Mike Pence.  Brindisi says they’re very close to a vote in the house on the US Mexico/Canada Trade agreement, or USMCA. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Members of the Not Again SU movement held a brief walk out Thursday where they delivered petitions demanding the resignation of chancellor Kent Syverud and other top administration officials. 

Twitter / Syracuse Police Department

The tentative contract agreement between the city of Syracuse and its police union aims to address two major challenges facing the department:  Recruitment and retention.  Officials talked about the 4 1/2 year deal Wednesday with a committee of common councilors. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Stronger sexual harassment laws have gone into effect that will expand protections for women in New York facing harassment in their homes, workplaces, and in public spaces. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse Common Councilors will get a raise next month after they approved pay increases for themselves, the mayor’s office, and city auditor.  The final vote at Monday's meeting was 6 to 2.