John Smith

Host, Reporter, Producer

Thanks for visiting my page.  My career has been quite the journey and it's a long road before I arrived to WAER.  As a kid, I was always intrigued by microphones, singers  and music.  My parents bought me a cheap tape recorder at 5 1/2 (if you can still relate) and I began telling stories and singing like I was Bobby Vinton.  I'm Polish, so I like Polkas too!  Anyhow, I'd play myself back and keep practicing.  I grew up with a severely handicapped brother, Shawn.  He caught Spinal Meningitis at three and a half weeks old and it left him with severe brain damage and he was permanently bedridden.  So, I had some downtime while my parents took care of him.  When I reached 11 years-old I also took up ventriloquism and entertained my bro.  It was all of the conversations I couldn't have with him.  Shawn couldn't speak, he could only make sounds and had a beautiful smile.  Eventually, I took my act to kids shows on WSTM Channel 3; The Saturday Showboat and the STM Club and continued performing on TV for most of my teenage years.  I also performed in the Dairy Products Building at the State Fair.  It was also during my early teens that I kept practicing making radio demo tapes in my room, complete with turntables and a mixer!  Finally, I won a Junior DJ contest to appear as a Co-Host on a local Morning Radio Show at 15 1/2 with Big Mike Fiss (now on Sunny 102) and I've been on-the-air ever since.  Radio became my new focus after I won the contest.  That is until less than a week later after I appeared on-the-air, WSYT-TV, Fox 68 in Syracuse called and offered me a job to voice promos for their fall kids contest.  I've been doing voice-overs ever since.  I continued to play the hits on two Top 40 stations, served as a Morning Show Host on a Rock Station, and an Afternoon Drive Personality on an Adult Contemporary Radio Station for which I also served as a Music Director.  I've had the opportunity to meet many celebrities and even introduced concert acts in front of thousands of people at the State Fair, Turning Stone Casino and Oswego's Harborfest.  What an adrenaline rush !  All that practicing really paid off !

Serving our WAER listeners as the Local Morning Edition Host and News Anchor has been an honor.  Especially, knowing Dick Clark was a member of this very station.  He was and still is a huge inspiration to me.  I enjoy covering the news of the community and also working with and training Broadcast Journalism Students from Syracuse University's Newhouse School.  It's been a very rewarding experience and has helped me to put into perspective of where I've come from and how much more I'd like to accomplish in life.  My reporting has earned me several Syracuse Press Club Awards that I'm grateful for.  Most recently, I won a First Place award for Best Radio Feature story for "Dick Clark got his start in Syracuse" on May 4, 2013.  Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that former WTVH-TV 5 Anchor Ron Curtis is also someone I've always admired.  A big shout out to my Mom and Dad for their love and support always; you are both truly amazing!  I'd also like to say thank you for all of great teachers and administrators in the Cicero-North Syracuse School District that have been supportive of me over the years where I also served as a Public Address Announcer !  Positive people make a difference in life and can inspire; I hope you hear that coming out your speakers when you listen to WAER ! 

Ways to Connect

Darrin Harris Frisby / Drug Policy Alliance

New York legalized marijuana for medical purposes; however, it continues to be holding-out on legalizing the drug for recreational use.  N.Y. Grows is advocating the State Legislature and the Governor to consider taking up companion legislation to follow the lead of eight other states.  They say launching the industry in New York would generate an estimated $600 million dollars in annual revenue.  Spokesperson Joel Giambra says the extra money for the state could be used to repair or replace roads and bridges.

Robert G. Ortt / NY State Senate

As the Trump Administration withdraws green energy policies, Governor Cuomo is investing $15 million to support geothermal installs.  Environmental groups across the state are feeling relieved.  Bill Nowak of NY Geo says many homeowners will benefit with $6,000  installation rebates.

“It was a great day for New York State," Nowak said. "Not just for the industry, but for homeowners across the state that are concerned about their energy bills and also concerned about the impact we’re having on the climate.”

dps.ny.gov

On Saturday, using only seven digits  to make a phone call in Central New York will become a thing of the past.  When the region gets a new area code next month, using ten digits just won’t have the same “ring” in popular music.

John Smith/WAER News

Downtown Dining week is aiming to keep restaurants busy as usual this time of year.  Starting February 15th, 32 participating restaurants will offer three course meals for $25 dollars or less.  It’s the most participation from businesses the event has ever experienced during its 13 year run.  Executive Director of the Downtown Committee, Merike Treier says the event attracts customers from all over Central New York for high quality, fine dining.

Leo Tully/WAER News

Students at Ed Smith School kicked off Black History Month with a visit from a Civil Rights activist today.  Alice Moore was an active participant in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama as well as two other 1965 marches when she was 16 years-old.  Education Commissioner Mark Muhammad introduced the young crowd to Alice Moore and showed his appreciation for her contribution to advance the civil rights movement in America.

John Smith/WAERNews

The OnCenter parking lot in Downtown Syracuse could become the site of a $150 million development with an 8 story office building plus 2 additional towers.  The Pemco Group is thinking that one tower would be reserved for offices, and student housing in the other tower.

Scott Willis / WAER News

Just as Donald Trump was taking the oath of office Friday, about a dozen people with Syracuse Cultural Workers held large letters off the edge of the Spencer Street bridge over I-81 that spelled out the hashtag “Not our President.”    Most motorists seemed to honk in the affirmative, and gave a thumbs up.  A few gave angry honks accompanied by an extended middle finger.  Max from Oswego says they’re trying to reach the majority of Americans who didn’t vote for Trump.

The New York State Canal System, which includes the Erie Canalway, received the honorary designation Wednesday as a National Historic Landmark.  The distinction is expected to build upon its successes for the tourism industry in Upstate New York.   At the announcement in Syracuse, State Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton explains how the more prominent status could also lead to new investments. 

John Smith/WAER News

The Southwest Community Center in Syracuse was filled with busy volunteers on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day sorting through piles of new or gently used clothing and food items.  The items get packed up and delivered to city residents in need.  To make sure they were enthused enough for the challenge ahead, they began with a pep talk and some appreciation from event organizers.

File photo / WAER News

The rise in flu cases in Onondaga County isn’t the only thing you can catch during this winter season, other viruses are also active.  Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Dr. Jennifer Nead says there are many strains and types of viruses this time of year.  The road to recovery can take awhile.

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