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

Hillaryclinton.com

  What will the future hold for the Democratic Party after the primary results Tuesday that secured the nomination for Hillary Clinton? Colgate University Political Science Professor Tim Byrnes says in the coming weeks Bernie Sanders will face facts that he’s not going to be the party’s nominee.

John Smith/WAER News

The impact of gun violence in is seen and heard on a regular basis in Syracuse.  Parents Rita and John Fredette know this firsthand.  Their son Joshua was killed in 2005.

"A monster stole the breath away from my son," Rita Fredette said.   "No matter what we all do to stop  and impact violence, that cannot heal my heart.  

"How do you get well?  I don't know," John Fredette said.  "Every day is yesterday, July 2, 2005."

Darlene Duprey / Duprey Video Productions

The Village of Waterloo is marking their 150th Anniversary observance of Memorial Day this weekend with much of the town center in red, white and blue.  According to Committee Co-Chair Dave Duprey, Civil War re-enactors are in town from all over the country for a remembrance ceremony tonight at 8 PM and throughout the weekend.


Chris Bolt/WAER News

  How do you bridge the gap between poverty and gainful employment so people can support their family? …and what is businesses responsibility.  Business, education and community service organizations took on the topic at Centerstate C-E-O Wednesday.  V-P of Economic Inclusion Dominick Robinson says poverty issues are often thought of as problems for the government and non-profits to solve.  However, he says investment in the companies and the employees can help change economic disparity.

John Smith/WAER News

Supporters and employees of Syracuse’s Rosamond Gifford Zoo got to hear today about accomplishments over the past year…and plans for the future.  Anyone who hasn’t visited in the past year or so will find some changes.

John Smith / WAER News

Walking into the Hotel Syracuse is like witnessing a rebirth of historic tracings of the past.  The man responsible for rescuing the hotel was honored today.  The Onondaga Historical Society presented the Owner, Ed Riley with the OHA Medal Award recognizing outstanding and meritorious service to local history.

Forum Continues Dialogue About the Complexities of Poverty

May 3, 2016
Zhiyan Zhong, WAER news

  A number of Syracuse residents and neighborhood groups Tuesday shared their visions of poverty and what to do about it.  There was plenty of concern about lack of income and the violence that it brings. 

Syracuse’s areas of concentrated poverty are well documented and acknowledged.  What’s also pretty well known is there’s no magic bullet to pull those residents, especially children, out of poverty.  Mary Nelson, president and CEO of Mary Nelson Youth Center Program, says poverty is complex and not just a stereotype.

John Smith / WAER News

High school students at five Syracuse City Schools declared today what colleges they’ll be headed off to in the fall.  At Nottingham High School, students approached a table and signed a sheet of paper indicating their choice.  Counselor Tracey Daige says the school tries to ensure that every student has an opportunity prior to graduation to get enrolled into at least one college course.

John Smith/WAER News

  Supporters of one Democratic Presidential candidate brought a Senator of Minnesota and Mayor Stephanie Miner together on an issue important to Syracuse.  They support Hillary Clinton’s infrastructure plan…and gathered at Plum Street Bridge near Franklin Square, built in 1908.

“And it was renovated, it needs to be fully renovated and right now they’re re-decking it.  It gets approximately 300 cars a day.”

Substance abuse is a growing problem in Onondaga County, and Crouse Hospital has the only dedicated treatment center. Crouse Spokesperson Bob Allen told County Lawmakers extra funding is needed to expand the facility. 

“The facility that we describe as 410, where the bulk of our programs are housed, we cannot physically take any more patients in that building.”

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