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

An historic building in the shadow of St. Joseph’s Hospital could avoid the wrecking ball after Syracuse Common Councilors Monday voted to designate it as a protected site.  The 115-year-old Angeloro Building at 429 N. State St. is currently home to a Mexican restaurant.  Councilor Latoya Allen says the building is worth keeping.

"I enjoy new buildings.  I enjoy new businesses coming in. But I also want to preserve some history in the city of Syracuse," Allen said.

Councilor Steve Thompson agrees.

John Smith/WAER News

Syracuse University chancellor Kent Syverud Friday paid an hour-long visit to students holding a silent sit-in protest of repeated incidents of racist graffiti found in and around campus.  At least 200 students packed in a long hallway of the Barnes center to ask him questions and demand answers.  Freshman Vanessa Giraldo says the administration can improve communication of such incidents to students.

twitter@NeSommavilla

UPDATE:  Syracuse University Department of Public Safety Offiicals reported early Thursday that more racist graffiti was discovered in a restroom stall of the Physics building targeting Asian individuals.  There are no suspects and are investigating this latest incident.  Beyond that, university officials have not responded to requests for comment.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Dozens of concerned Syracuse residents packed into common council chambers Wednesday to hear more about an amendment that aims to clarify the just how the findings of the Citizen Review Board are used in litigation involving police misconduct. 


Gov. Cuomo Announces Completion of Syracuse-Rome Drone Corridor

Nov 12, 2019
Gov. Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stopped in Syracuse Tuesday to anounce the completion of a 50-mile Drone Corridor between Syracuse and Rome.  But what is a Drone Corridor?


Stock Photo / WAER News

Doctors and scientists from Central New York and the State Deptartment of Health have created an algorithm to assess patients who might have symptoms associated with vaping.  As of November 5th, the Centers for Disease Control has reported 165 cases Lung Injury in New York State.  


Syracuse University

Syracuse University held its annual Veterans Day Ceremony at Hendricks Chapel on Monday.  It’s a part of a week filled with activities for veterans on campus.  More than 1,300 military students are enrolled at SU this semester alone. 


Onondaga Earth Corps

300 youth and ten-thousand trees in 15 years.  That’s the impact of the Onondaga Earth Corps, which is holding an anniversary celebration and annual fundraiser this weekend. 


Chris Bolt/WAER News

Hundreds of Central New York current and former military service members attended a Veterans Day event at the Oneida Nation today, kicking off the holiday observance.  The Oneidas thanked them for their service to the country, while emphasizing the bond the Oneida Nation has had with the US through the years. 


Scott Willis / WAER-FM 88.3

Top executives from Microsoft joined with the city of Syracuse, Onondaga County and Syracuse University Thursday to officially kick off a new Digital alliance.  Under the agreement, Microsoft will make Syracuse its first Northeast Technology Hub with an emphasis on creating an inclusive environment.


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