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 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

Music for the Mission

A new song dropped today featuring more than 40 local musicians lending their voice to raise funds by the sale of each download with a goal to feed 100,000 families.  Their efforts came from an idea from a Co-Founder and singer Angela Moonan who wanted to open up the conversation about those less fortunate in communities across Upstate New York.

John Smith/WAER News

A third year grad student who is pursuing his Masters of Fine Arts Degree in painting at Syracuse University has found his work on full display at the U.S. Bowling Congress event in Syracuse.  Even before players and people go inside to the lanes, they’ll likely stop in the foyer entrance to see a display of suspended bowling balls from the ceiling.  They’re colorful and arranged by Mark Zbikowski, Jr. who is also a practicing professional artist.  He calls the sculpture, “It’s In Our Blood 2.0.”

John Smith/WAER News

Danforth Middle School in Syracuse has been awarded a $5,000 dollar to support additional STEM programming.  The school will create a new afterschool club through the STEM Talent Pipeline Grant from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.   Spokesperson Laura Perloff says the “hands-on” training could lead to one of the currently more than 53,000 bio-pharmaceutical jobs in New York.

John Smith/WAER News

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse is preparing to roll-out some prehistoric creatures that are coming back to life through animatronics.  The Exhibit known as “Dinosaur Invasion!” will run through the summer and kick off on May 25th.  Friends of the Zoo President Janet Agostini says the exhibit will represent the various classes of Dinosaurs.

Syracuse University

Syracuse University is investing $118 million dollars to replace the existing Carrier Dome roof and other upgrades that should be ready by Football season 2020 and provide a stadium-like experience.  Over the weekend the University’s Board of Trustees signed-off on the plan to install the suspended roof and updates inside.  Athletic Director John Wildhack says the focus is on students and the fan experience.

John Smith/WAER News

Getting a disease because of occupational hazards or even killed on the job happens more often than you may think.  A Workers Memorial Day gathering was held on Friday to remember Upstate workers who died because of either scenario was held in Liverpool.  Advocates are working to provide support to affected workers and immigrants.  Worker Justice Center of N.Y. Senior Advocate Carly Fox from Rochester advocates for health, safety, and compensation issues for migrant farm workers.  She says farmers have made some improvements but immigrants need their help to negotiate.

Organ Donors and Recipients Celebrate at The Donate Life Event

Apr 25, 2018
liveonny.org

Local organ donors and recipients are celebrating the lives -- and friendships -- they’ve created through the event of giving or receiving an organ donation.  Kidney recipient Michael Demaintenon joined his donor Jessica Green at Upstate University hospital today. Demaintenon says he didn’t initially want to go public about his failing kidneys. Then the function of his kidneys declined this past January, and he created a Facebook page in search of help.

John Smith / WAER News

 

The 100th year of the New York State Canal System was celebrated over the weekend with at least 100 Earth Day Events.  The “Canal Clean Sweep” had volunteers at sites along the 524 mile canal putting some gloves on and getting to work just ahead of the canal season.  Parks and Trails New York Spokesperson James Meerdink said he appreciates their hard work.  One community in the capital region lead a community effort that went beyond the canal system. 

John Smith/WAER News

 UPDATED

Syracuse University has permanently expelled the Chapter of Theta Tau today after videos filled with hatred, bigotry, racism and insensitive comments targeted at the LGBT community, Jews and people with disabilities surfaced this week.  In a message to the campus Community posted to the website Vimeo, Chancellor Kent Syverud says the Dean of Students, Robert Hradsky delivered a letter to Theta TAU leadership today informing the fraternity of the university’s final decision. 

Cornell Law School website.

A Cornell University Immigration Law School Professor is drawing attention to a more than 200 page leaked draft of a federal proposal.  Under the plan, he says housing assistance and energy benefits would longer be accessible to immigrants.  In his 35 years of teaching and practicing immigration law, Steven Yale-Loehr, calls the proposal – “a sledgehammer on the system.”

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