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

John Smith / WAER News

The City of Syracuse’s longstanding infrastructure problems seem to be even more commonplace with water main breaks during the winter.  Members of the Rebuild New York Now coalition joined Mayor Stephanie Miner today to share similar concerns about the impacts of bad infrastructure on water quality or contamination.  She feels optimistic about Governor Cuomo’s pledge to spend a massive amount on infrastructure repairs.  Now she hopes state lawmakers will include those plans in the State Budget.

File photo / WAER News

Ever since the Trump Administration entered the White House in January, local groups have been vocal about expressing their thoughts concerning policies on immigration, proposed federal spending cuts or plans to replace Obamacare.  This weekend, one group has decided to create their own public town hall meeting after requests for Congressmember John Katko to hold - in person - town halls never happened.  The gathering will be hosted by the C.N.Y. Solidarity Coalition.  Federal legislative team member Donna Oppedisano thinks the audience will hear more of those consistent messages.

Chris Bolt / WAER News

The same day courts consider the legality of President Trump’s latest Travel Ban, an Upstate New York case saw a woman facing deportation.  Workers advocates see it as an example of what’s wrong with the trend in immigration policy.


John Smith / WAER News

Much in the same way Syracuse University never seems to close due to inclement weather, the owner of the Varsity can relate.  In fact, he says they never close, as well.  Until today... or at least part of the day.  After all, there's a basketball game tonight.

A traveling presentation for public schools and colleges is making a stop this week at Pinegrove Middle School in East Syracuse with an anti-bullying message to empower students to step in and be a superhero of sorts.  The co-founder of Sweethearts and Heroes, Tom Murphy is a former mixed martial arts athlete.  In one demonstration, he acts as a bully towards a student and has two other students dressed in capes respond by actively causing a distraction, empowering the victim to speak up to him.

C&S Engineers

Syracuse City Lawmakers get to decide next week on whether or not to approve a proposed $50 million dollar renovation of Hancock International Airport. Some of the features will include a new canopy to protect passengers from the elements, and a glass facade will allow more natural light into the airport. Commissioner Chris Callahan describes it as a completely new experience.

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.

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