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

nysfair.ny.gov

The New York State Fair is fast approaching and fairgoers have a lot to look forward to.  With only six days left until the fair begins, many are unsure of what to expect now that the first phase of renovations has wrapped up.  Acting State Fair Director Troy Waffner was the guest speaker at today’s FOCUS Greater Syracuse forum.  He discussed attractions and features that attendees will notice during the fair’s 13-day run.

A proposal to expand New York State’s medical marijuana program would ease prescribing and cover more conditions. The changes would include easier access, shorter training courses for practitioners, and reduced regulations for dispensaries, among other changes. Legislative Counsel at the Marijuana Policy Program Kate Bell says these changes would have a positive impact on patients. 

John Smith / WAER News

Central New York firefighters and state officials gathered in Chittenango Thursday to urge Governor Cuomo to sign a bill that would provide coverage for presumptive cancers contracted by volunteer firefighters. Senator David Valesky says both the Senate and Assembly strongly supported the bill.

cuse.com

Syracuse University’s Athletic Department continues to reflect on the life and legacy of Dick MacPherson, who died Tuesday.  The department includes his grandsons, who offered some memories, along with the Athletic Director.  One quality they all seem to agree on is that Coach Mac was a genuine person who made everyone feel important, on and off the field.  Richard 'Macky' MacPherson says he was like a father and his interests went far beyond football.

What are the prospects that Republican State Senator John DeFrancisco of Syracuse will challenge Governor Andrew Cuomo for Governor? 

DeFrancisco says he first wants to see if he can gain enough support from republican committee members and is traveling across the state to get the word out about his vision for the state.  He feels that it’s a critical time for him to decide whether or not to run.

"While population throughout the United States is growing, we had a net loss.  That means are voting with their feet.   They're expressing how they really feel by leaving the state.  That confirms what I've heard from  especially small business owners and people worried about their job, and seeing their kids not coming back to the state.” 

The Senator says that voters want to be confident about elected officials and thinks Cuomo has a credibility issue.

"If you talk to most New Yorkers who have any  involvement in politics, I would like to find out who, give me one person...have them call me, who trusts Andrew Cuomo to be truthful when he says something.  It's just not the case.” 

DeFrancisco feels that Cuomo likes to take credit for projects such as the recent expansion of the subway system on 7th Avenue in New York.  However, he alleges that the Governor distanced himself from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority when problems occurred.

“… but, then, you don’t a few months later say that it’s not you (Governor Cuomo) that’s running the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; it’s all (Mayor Bill) de Blasio’s fault, even though you appoint the Chairman to that group and you have a substantial influence over the majority of that group.  So, that’s the type of thing, I think, that people get tired… I know I do, of hearing things one day and then a totally opposite spin on something the next day because it achieves a political result.”

Onondaga County to Sue Opioid Drug Makers Over "Misleading Information"

Jul 27, 2017
CREDIT UPSTATE.EDU/POISON/NEWS/HEROIN-DATA.PHP / UPSTATE MEDICAL UNIVERSITY

Onondaga County Lawmakers are preparing to file a lawsuit against opioid drug manufacturers for what they maintain is misleading information about the drugs that has fueled the county’s opioid and heroin epidemic.  Syracuse University School of Law Professor Nina Kohn says even if the county shows the drug manufacturer’s engaged in deceptive behavior, the court could still find they’re not legally responsible.

Harriet Tubman Freedom Music Festival

The City of Auburn is celebrating the life of abolitionist Harriet Tubman and her tireless efforts to guide slaves to safety.  The 2nd annual Harriet Tubman Freedom Music Festival will be held tonight in the city.  Executive Producer and music composer Sean McLeod a puts his heart and soul into the festival.  People will hear his voice and music at the festival that he refers to as A Soundtrack for Harriet Tubman. It's the result of his hard work that's truly been a long journey.  He first wrote music for a play about Tubman in 1990 and then he was commissioned in 1993 for a re-adaptation into a musical.

John Smith/WAER News

Members of the Congolese Community of C.N.Y. gathered at Syracuse City Hall as part of a flag raising ceremony.  Former Congolese Community President Cyprien Mahigo is concerned about people in the Congo and the partially reinstated U.S. Travel Ban.

Cornell Law website.

A Co-Director of Cornell Law School’s Asylum and Convention Against Torture Appellate Clinic feels there’s not much more the federal government can do to further screen or vet refugees and immigrants.  Professor and Acting Immigration Lawyer Steve Yale-Loehr says he understands the need to evaluate the screening process as a matter of National Security.  But he says the rules are already stringent for refugees to gain entry into the U.S.

John Smith/WAER News

Full-time elected officials can often ride-out their popularity to keep them in office, indefinitely.  That’s why you might not expect a politician now in her third term to propose term-limits.  However, that’s precisely what the Onondaga County Executive is proposing.  She also wants county elected officials to hold one job.

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