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

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Syracuse common councilors are postponing approval of an agreement that would give Verizon blanket permission to install a high-speed 5G wireless network across the city. 


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Syracuse common councilors Monday approved a $252.5 million city budget, one that doesn’t raise property taxes nearly as much as Mayor Ben Walsh proposed last month. 


Scott Willis / WAER News

Most Central New Yorkers have probably been plagued by robocalls like this:

"The reason you have received this phone call from our department is to inform you that we just suspended your social security number because we found some suspicious activity.  So, if you want to know about his case just press one now.  Thank you."


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One of the first city leaders to call for the I-81 viaduct to come down is excited that the state has finally made a recommendation to replace it.

"I was very much overjoyed that the community grid had been the chosen option.  Although that does not mean that's the end of the story."


Scott Willis / WAER News

Members of the Syracuse Youth Advisory Council have spent the past few months researching issues and concerns facing their peers, and today, they made their final presentations to common councilors.  Students in grades 9 to 12 apply for the 11 spots, and have the chance to try and influence change.  One group focused on the lack of diversity among the school district’s teachers and other leaders.  ITC student Donovan Collins doesn’t see many teachers who look like him or can relate to him.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Businesses on I-81 just north of Syracuse and the county legislators that represent them are continuing to insist that a high-speed highway be maintained through the city.  They’re urging residents and others to speak out against the state’s recommendation last week of a community grid to replace the aging viaduct that cuts through downtown.


Scott Willis/WAER News

State officials say they’re ready to spend $27 million to close the current 14-mile gap in the Empire State Trail between Dewitt and Camillus.  It’s part of a 300 mile stretch that roughly follows the old Erie Canal between Buffalo and Albany. 


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Every day, Central New Yorkers with diabetes either have to inject insulin or have a pump to maintain their blood sugar levels.  This routine is typically seen as the final option in the treatment pathway for diabetes patients.  But what if they could take an insulin pill instead? 


John Smith / WAER News

Labor leaders, worker advocates, and others came together in Liverpool Friday for Workers’ Memorial Day to recall the at least 30 people who died on the job in the past year across Central New York.  They say there’s not enough inspectors to make sure OSHA  laws are enforced in more workplaces.  The Medical Director of the Occupational Health Clinical Center in Syracuse says the laws also need to be updated to reflect the modernized working conditions.  Dr. Michael Lax sees workers suffering with job related problems on a daily basis.

Scott Willis/WAER News

An investigation that began over a year ago in St. Lawrence County culminated Thursday morning with the indictment of 65 people as part of two drug rings in central and upstate New York.  Attorney General Letitia James says they trafficked heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine through Onondaga, Oneida, and other counties from sources in New York City and New Jersey.  James says surveillance techniques were instrumental in finding those connected to the operation.

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