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, 20013.  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

John Smith/WAER News

Part of springtime for Syracuse home owners is to get outside and put their finishing touches on their properties with landscaping, painting or adding something new. It can become competitive on a friendly level and the Eastwood Neighborhood Association is looking for 20 of the best homes.

File Photo / WAER News

On the first really nice Sunday of the spring season, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo drew in 5,000 people. The Friends of the Zoo are looking to build on many successes with new animals and exhibits by drawing in more crowds as part of a 20 year master plan. Today they took a look back on the past year and what’s ahead. President and C.E.O. Janet Agostini says 362,000 visitors came in 2014.

John Smith/ WAER News

Several Central New York minority and women-owned businesses spent their Friday finding out how to get assistance or to expand their businesses becoming eligible to get state contracted work.  Regional Opportunities Expo’s are being held across the State and came to the State Fairgrounds.  Lourdes Zapata is the Executive Director of the State Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development. She says the healthiest economy has diversity.

USGS / John Smith, WAER News

The weather might finally be warming up in Central New York, but a new exhibit illustrates the damaging effect climate change is having on the world’s coldest features.  “Losing a Legacy” is the name of a photography project on display at the Museum of Science and Technology revealing the dramatic decline of glaciers over the past century, especially at Glacier National Park. Exhibits project manager at the MOST Peter Plumley says the photos from the U.S. Geological Survey portend a grim future.

John Smith / WAER News

Out of all of the shirts for sale in stores at Destiny USA, you’ll never see any with these sayings... ”The pain will never stop," and “I chose to survive.”  Those are just a sampling of the more than 300 shirts spread across the Vera House Clothesline Project at the mall to raise awareness about sexual abuse.  All of them are made by survivors and will be on display until May 6th.  Prevention and Education Director Loren Cunningham says sexual abuse causes a ripple effect of emotions in families and beyond.

John Smith, WAER News

Central New York’s business sector of women-owned entrepreneurs are part of the total of 9 million businesses who are creating new products, services and jobs across the United States.  For some, the Wise (Women Igniting The Spirit of Entrepreneurship) Symposium 2015 is their first introduction to making the right connections to launch their own.  They gathered at the Carrier Dome for the 13th annual Symposium on Tuesday.  The Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet was a presenter. She explains that young women realized their parents were only earning five percent raises in corporate America.

http://www.upstate.edu/poison/news/heroin-data.php / Upstate Medical University

  Experts say heroin use is still rising in Central New York and they don’t expect the problem to improve any time soon. Local police officers have recently saved several people from overdoses by administering an antidote called Naloxone, known as Narcan. Two weeks after police saved a Cicero teen’s life, he died of another overdose. Crouse hospital’s Mark Raymond who works at the heroin treatment center says the problem stems from a rise in prescription opioids, which often lead to heroin use.

John Smith, WAER News

An environmental group is making the push for the State Legislature to adopt the Child Safe Products Act to remove tainted toys from store shelves across the State and locally. Members of Clean and Healthy New York made toy purchases in Onondaga County and then used an X-ray fluorescent scanning device to see what they contained. Deputy Director Bobbi Chase Wilding scanned the toys and what she found might surprise you.

John Smith / WAER News

Indian Day at the 2015 State Fair will have an expanded visual presence to tell more of the history of the Iroquois nations. The day has been renamed Six Nations Day and is scheduled on the second Friday of the Fair.  Onondaga Nation Tadodaho Sid Hill says it will allow them to educate the public about their people.


John Smith / WAER News

  The Onondaga County 911 Center received nearly 600,000 calls in 2014 with an average pick-up time of 5 .9 seconds. Wednesday, members of the team were rewarded for their professional skills to help callers.  The Public Safety Dispatcher Employee of the Year Award was presented to Kelly Brigman.  Commissioner Bill Bleyle recalled a cell phone call for help she answered from an elderly man who struck his head on a tree.

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