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

Restaurant workers in Central New York and across upstate say ending the sub-minimum wage would go a long way toward reducing poverty and sexual harassment.  The group “One Fair Wage” released a brief on gender pay in the restaurant industry Thursday, which finds two-thirds of tipped workers are women.  

WAER file photo

The head of the agency tasked with investigating complaints of police misconduct in Syracuse is calling the newly adopted police reform plan a “starting point” toward transparency and accountability. 

City of Syracuse

There is a unique opportunity this month for Syracuse residents to take part in a fair and open process that puts redistricting in the voters hands.   It's also the first time the city has redrawn its lines in 20 years. Members of the independent redistricting commission - not elected or government officials - will determine the areas City Councilors represent. Onondaga County Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny is optimistic about the outcome.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse Economist Janet Burman officially launched her campaign for the 2021 Mayoral race Wednesday, joining a growing field of candidates hoping to unseat incumbent Independent Mayor Ben Walsh.; @claudiatenney

Central New York Congressmembers John Katko and Claudia Tenney were among all 211 House republicans who voted no Wednesday on the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.  Tenney has been notably silent on the legislation in the media and on her social media feeds until now.  Katko issued a tweet after the first House vote on Feb.

Barry Carr

More Central New Yorkers could be driving electric cars in the next decade or so as an increasing number of automakers say they’re planning to phase out internal combustion vehicles.  On Friday, we told you that General Motors, Volvo, and Jaguar are among those making the transition in the next four to 15 years, and others are likely to follow.  But will there be enough places to charge your car while out and about? 

WAER File Photo 2017

  A Syracuse-area energy expert says it’s encouraging to see more automakers planning to phase out gas-powered vehicles in favor of environmentally friendly alternatives.  General Motors, Volvo, and Jaguar have all pledged to sell only electric cars in the next four to 15 years. 


Benjamin Schiller / WAER News

New York State Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy stopped in Syracuse Wednesday to call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to address the public on his nursing home and sexual harassment scandals. Cuomo has faced immense criticism from both sides of the aisle due to his recent scandals.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Mayor Ben Walsh is officially in the race to keep his seat … and he has a clearer path to get on the ballot.  Walsh announced the backing of a political party that he says allows him to avoid partisanship and gridlock.

Greg Craybas

The annual photo exhibit featuring the birds and wildlife of Onondaga Lake will be virtual this year.  But that also presents new and different ways to present the amazing photos taken by Central New York’s professional and amateur photographers.