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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State Lawmakers wrapped up their session without voting on the Medical Aid in Dying Act, which would allow terminally ill adults to ask their doctors for life-ending medication.  It's been floating around chambers for a couple of years. But with a new democratic majority in the senate, chances appeared better for passage. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Children and adults alike could hardly contain their excitement earlier today at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo where officials had a surprise…

“I see it!  I see it! I see it!”  a little boy exclaimed when baby Asian elephant Ajay emerged into the yard, accompanied by his mother Mali and grandmother Targa.

Neither farmworkers, nor their employers are claiming victory after passage of legislation at the state capitol that includes some labor protections that most other workers enjoy. 

U.S. Navy / via Wikipedia

Senator Chuck Schumer is urging the U.S. Navy to name a ship after a top naval officer born in Oswego.  Senior Chief Petty Officer Shannon Kent was raised in Dutchess County, and left college to join the Navy in the footsteps of her father and uncle.   Schumer made his remarks on the senate floor.

provided photo / MACNY

Nine Central New York students will be making the easy transition from an internship right into a paid position after a first-ever job signing day at LeMoyne college.  Partners for Education and Business, or PEB, modeled the event after letter-of-intent signings for athletes.   Ailiyah Morris will be taking a job at commercial laundry equipment manufacturer GA Braun after she graduates from the Institute of Technology this month.  She says the company began its relationship when she started 9th grade.  She took an internship in her junior year.

Megan Coughlin / Flickr Creative Commons

After months of research and public input, the city of Syracuse’s deer and tick advisory board is ready to make recommendations on how to curb the problem. They’ve come up with a ten point plan that relies on the cooperation of county government, city divisions, and private citizens.

There’s growing concern that the lack of high-speed internet access among low income urban and rural households, immigrants, and other minority populations might leave them undercounted in the upcoming census.  That’ll be the focus of a summit Wednesday hosted by the Central New York Digital Inclusion Coalition.  Co-chair and director of the LaFayette Public Library Scott Kushner says the census bureau will start by sending postcards that direct residents to a website. 

Katie Zilcosky / WAER News

Dozens of people with a rare condition marked by potentially cancerous tumors wrapped up a conference hosted by Upstate Medical University this weekend in Syracuse aimed at bringing together patients, physicians, and researchers to discuss the latest advancements in screening and treatment.   The disease is called pheochromocytoma paraganglioma, or pheo para for short.  Jenny Rowan of North Carolina was diagnosed in 2012.  She takes comfort in being able to connect with others who share the condition.

Scott Willis / WAER News

A campaign in Onondaga County aimed at giving parents in the tools they need to promote early brain and language development in their babies is starting to see success after its launch two years ago.  More than 1,000 tote bags filled with information and books and even a couple of toys have been dropped off by trained home visitors at households already receiving other services through the county and its partners. 

Katherine Marino

A Rochester-based performer and choreographer is bringing her unique live variety show to Syracuse Saturday night that’s probably unlike anything anyone has ever seen.  It’s called The Extraordinary Muffin Theatre Spectacular.   Katherine Marino explains what the audience can expect.

"I'm trained as a mime and a professional dancer.  The work that I do is all silent and movement based...physical acting, physical comedy.  I've given myself this challenge...can I host a variety show...circus performers and musicians."