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

John Smith/WAER News

Automotive Technology students at Onondaga Community College could be landing internships with a high-end electric vehicle company by the fall of 2018.  A letter-of-intent has been reached between the college and Tesla.  The company brought an EV worth about $147,000 to the college with doors that mechanically lift upwards.  Perhaps the white leather seats and large electronic dashboard will also draw you in.  However, if you’re an Automotive Technology student like Anton Prusakob, you look beneath the surface.

Syracuse Peace Council Facebook / Syracuse Peace Council

A unique multi-cultural crafts show arrives just in time for the first weekend of December with food and entertainment. Regardless if you’re planning on doing some holiday shopping or not, the 47th Annual Plowshares Crafts-fair and Peace Festival could be a summer flashback.

“Plowshares is the indoor Westcott Street Fair.”

That’s Lanny Freshmen, an organizer of the event committee. He says the festival draws more than 3,000 people in two days.

Jeff Simms / https://www.flickr.com/photos/ijerf/2296807544/in/photolist-4uXJS5-eGcvPB-LyQCaL-qSFr5-5p6G2L-HyWtw-3awYaX-J9Fvd-2vSveQ-rN2TY-ALJw-7gNbyd-7gNbo3-7gJfe8-AM3R-L9ZgaY-3geXPx-dUTKZU-dUTKVC-dt2m5p-dt2mhH-dt2kRx-dt2kon-dt2mvc-LggJVZ-LXfJS9-vqso6g-4uTEBk-z8ohZ6-

A Syracuse University Newhouse School Professor of Television and Popular Culture was surprised by NBC’s quick firing of TODAY Show Host and Anchor Matt Lauer this week.  Bob Thompson said on Wednesday there are many unanswered questions that remain.

“How many people at that organization (NBC) knew what was going on?  If it was going on and how much were they enabling it?  I mean, that’s what was really damaging about that FOX with (Roger) Ailes and (Bill) O’Reilly is that so many people were aware of what was going on and they continued to let it go on.  We don’t know yet about how that’s happening at NBC but, I guess we’re gonna find out.”

Vera House

A night of dinner, live music and dancing will raise funds for Vera House in December as they continue to support people with services who are going through domestic violence.  This year will mark the 26th annual “New Beginnings” GalaThe organization supports victims of domestic violence.  Executive Director Randi Bregman says the event used to be known as “Home for the Holidays.”

Centerstate C.E.O

As you shop for people on your holiday shopping list, how much of the items are produced locally?  Organizers of an annual event hope that you consider supporting local restaurants, wine and brewers and the products that have made them well known.  The 8th annual “Buy Local Bash” will be held this evening.  The Event Coordinator Shannon Fults of Centerstate C.E.O. says vendors enjoy meeting with prospective customers.


WAER file photo

Even with Election Day in the books, Syracuse City government still has at least one more seat to fill.  Helen Hudson has been elected Common Council President and the public won’t get to vote on the seat she’s leaving behind. A similar situation was met with controversy in 2015. The Green Party’s recent Councilor-At-Large candidate, Frank Cetera wants to make sure that it’s handled differently this time around.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The President-elect of the Syracuse Common Council says she has high hopes going into a new mayoral administration that will bring a different tone to city hall.  Democrat Helen Hudson publicly supported and campaigned for Independent Ben Walsh over fellow democrat Juanita Perez Williams.  She says she got to know Walsh as a calm, thoughtful person during her time as councilor-at-large, and his six years as the city’s deputy commissioner of business development.

twitter.com / @syracusechiefs

The pending sale of the Syracuse Chiefs Triple-A baseball team to the New York Mets in some ways is becoming more of a business transaction for many Central New Yorkers than a sports story. 

Thousands of people and businesses bought stock for $10 a share more than 50 years ago to support the fledgling ball club.  But there’s one problem.  Director of the Office of Unclaimed funds in the State Comptroller’s Office Lawrence Schantz says the team doesn’t know where 5,600 shares are.

John Smith/WAER News

Central New York Congressmember John Katko says he voted no to the House Budget this week because he stressed the elimination of the State and Local Tax deduction would have adversely affected property tax payers in the state.  However, he’s optimistic that House Republicans will work it out. 

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