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

rescue mission
Revette Studios

The Syracuse Area Rescue Mission opened the doors today on a brand new and improved facility, which can benefit residents and improve their futures.  It’s left many of the current residents in awe.

NYS Winterfair

 People who enjoy the New York State Fair will once again have the chance to get a taste of the event in the middle of winter.  The fairgrounds new Expo Center allows organizers to put rides, shows, food vendors and other staples of the summer event into a venue suitable for the cold season.  State Fair Director Troy Waffner expects tens of thousands to come … and jokes he has to fill the huge event space in which New York State invested millions.

City of Syracuse

In the span of less than a year, a third person will be representing residents in Syracuse’s third common council district.  Democratic incumbent Bryn Lovejoy-Grinnell was narrowly defeated in a three way primary by Chol Majok.  

Scott Willis/WAER News

A familiar name and face is looking to return to the Syracuse Common Council.  Democrat Pat Hogan is seeking his old second district seat, which he held for eight years before term limits forced him out in 2013.  The wide-open seat covers the Northwestern area of Syracuse.  Hogan says his door-to-door campaign strategy is important when connecting with constituents.

Governor Cuomo's flickr page

Cayuga and Oneida are among 11 counties under a state of emergency after heavy rains and high winds caused flooding and power outages.  Other counties include Chautauqua, Dutchess, Erie, Essex, Hamilton, Herkimer, Mongomery, Saratoga, and Warren.

Voters in Onondaga County’s 15th legislative district might recognize some of the names in the three-way contest.  Incumbent republican Miles Bottrill served as a city councilor from 1994 to 2001.  More recently, democrat Bill Kinne looks to make a return after representing the district from 1991 to 2011.  Misse Ross on the Working Families party line has been an outspoken community activist for years. 


Central New York’s Congress Members followed party lines on today’s impeachment procedural vote. 

Scott Willis / WAER-FM 88.3

Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick has not one, but two opponents going into this year’s election.  The seven-term republican is being challenged by defense attorney and democrat Chuck Keller, and attorney Gary Lavine on the Conservative Party line.

The only wide open race on the Onondaga County Legislature has generated plenty of interest from candidates seeking to represent the 7th district.  There was a rare primary among democrats, and now there’s a three-way contest for the district which includes most of DeWitt and small slices of Syracuse.  Now the candidates want voters to get equally engaged.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Microsoft has chosen Syracuse to be home to its first Smart Cities technology hub in the northeast.   It would be one of the next big pieces of the Syracuse Surge project to revitalize the neighborhoods just south of downtown.  City officials discussed the partnership Thursday with common councilors.