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 residents dealing with deer in their neighborhoods have a chance to share their concerns and learn more about how the city might manage the problem at an information session on Tuesday evening.  Experts from the medical and research communities will be on hand to discuss the growing health and safety matter.  Councilor Joe Driscoll is leading the effort and says the deer population continues to grow in number and in range. 

provided photo

Guests from around the world will gather at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown Sunday for a gala to celebrate the life achievements of Onondaga Nation Faithkeeper Oren Lyons.  The SU alumnus is 89, and is an accomplished lacrosse player, artist, and author.  Lyons is a leading voice at the UN permanent Forum on Human Rights for Indigenous Peoples, and has received numerous environmental and peace awards.  WAER News sat down with his son, Rex Lyons, and gala co-chair Gayle Kelley to chat about his influence. 

Scott Basile

The Everson Museum of Art has the distinction of being the first museum commission for world renowned architect I.M. Pei.  He died Thursday in New York City at age 102.  WAER News sat down with museum Director  and CEO Elizabeth Dunbar and Dean of the Syracuse University School of Architecture Michael Speaks to recall what Pei hoped to accomplish with the Everson’s design when it opened in 1968.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Onondaga County is getting more aggressive in trying to tackle the stubborn lead paint problem in the area’s older housing stock.  County Executive Ryan McMahon issued an order Thursday that holds landlords more accountable for lead abatement on their properties in order to prevent lead poisoning in children.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse’s Armory Square is already one of the area’s most popular destinations, where people shop, eat, drink, or catch a show.  But what can make it more pedestrian friendly and attractive? 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Fans of the popular, life-size dinosaur exhibit that’s visited the Museum of Science and Technology many times over the years will soon be able to see it anytime.  The MoST announced today that they’re devoting three-thousand square feet of space for a permanent exhibit called Dino Zone.  MOST president Lauren Kochian says the dinosaurs have always been popular over the past three decades.

Scott Willis / WAER News

When you see bicyclists using a dedicated bike lane, pedestrians strolling along wide sidewalks, buses stopped in a special bus lane, and, of course cars using a roadway, the term “Complete Street” might not come to mind.  But that’s just what the City of Syracuse continues to build out since adopting such a framework in 2012.

Central New York companies who do business with China are finding themselves caught in the middle of the escalating trade war.  On Friday, the US imposed a 25 percent increase in tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, while Monday, China retaliated by doing much the same on $60 billion worth of US goods. 

Funding for the I-81 project could come from a massive, $2 trillion infrastructure spending plan being considered by President Trump and congressional democrats. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Mother’s Day is upon us, and thousands of Central New York moms want nothing more than having enough diapers for their babies.   The CNY Diaper Bank is encouraging the community to get involved in its 4th annual “Make a Mother’s Day” diaper drive this month to help moms who can’t afford diapers.