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

  Progress continues on Onondaga County’s Amphitheater project…despite winter weather and environmental concerns.  WAER’s Chris Bolt reports local contractors can also find out how to get involved tonight.

John Smith/WAER News

When Western New York was dealt a major winter storm last month with an entire year’s worth of snow piled up in a matter of days, Onondaga County Employees and first responders made the trip to offer help.  Today they were recognized by County Executive Joanie Mahoney for their efforts.  She personally received hand-written thank you letters from Erie County Residents.


David Armstrong - Syracuse University

For more than a decade the non-profit group that owns the Harriet Tubman Home and grounds in Auburn, New York have been trying to get the historical place designated as a national park. Last Friday, the US Senate voted to pass the measure by a vote of 89 to 11 and now it’s waiting for President Obama’s signature. Harriet Tubman Incorporated President and CEO Karen Hill wants that as a Christmas gift.

A view inside an industrial-looking room, with purple pipes, an orange pump, and large metal water tanks
John Smith / WAER News

As the Carrier Dome’s roof protects Orange fans from the elements, now the rain run-off streaming down the Dome’s roof will be collected into two 25,000-gallon bulk storage tanks. The water captured will be chlorinated and then used to flush toilets in eight of the Dome’s restroom facilities. There will be about 8,000 gallons available for use throughout the facility, stored in an indoor room by the concourse. Environmental Facilities Corporation President and CEO Matt Driscoll says it’s a sign of the times: 

Organization Uses Federal Grant to Help Syracuse Refugees Find Jobs

Dec 11, 2014
(c) John Smith, WAER.

The Somali Bantu Community Association has received a $450,000 Federal grant to support self-sufficiency and provide employment services to the Somali Bantus, as well as other refugees in the Syracuse area. Self-sufficiency is a top priority for the association, which works to assist the refugees along their path toward becoming United States citizens. 

Haji Adan, Executive Director of the association, says the group’s mission is to facilitate a successful transition to American life.

National Weather Service Binghamton

Central New Yorkers who have their shovels and snowblowers on standby know that green lawns don’t last forever in December.  The National Weather Service in Binghamton has issued a Winter Storm Warning Tuesday morning at 10 AM through Thursday Morning at 7 AM including Syracuse and Onondaga County.  Warning Coordination Meteorologist Dave Nicosia says the developing coastal storm will be centered off the New Jersey Coast.

Onondaga County Sheriff's Office

Onondaga County Sheriff’s Investigators say a DWI crash on Route 31 in Clay has left a resident homeless for the holidays.  The accident happened in the middle of the night on Wednesday, shortly after 1 AM near the intersection of Caughdenoy Road.  Public Information Officer Jon Seeber says the driver struck three different points.

John Smith / WAER News

We can stay in touch pretty easily these days with cell phones, but when you’re overseas in the military, it’s not that simple. US Soldiers serving overseas can actually get some free minutes to call home through the Cell Phones for Soldiers program.  State Senator John DeFrancisco explains how people can generate those calling card minutes.

NY National Guard

The Epic Snow Storm that’s dumped at least seven feet of snow on Western New York and the Buffalo area this week is winding down, but the aftermath of weather related problems and humanitarian assistance continues to pile up. 

John Smith/WAER News

The Syracuse City School District is launching a first of a kind project with a goal of bringing Foster Grandparents to every first and second grade classroom. No other city nationwide has attempted the feat.  

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