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

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. 

Chris Bolt/WAER News

An investment of $315 million dollars in Downtown Syracuse construction projects, the addition of 440 new hotel rooms within three years and a thriving arts, entertainment and sports scene are all positive signs of Downtown’s resurgence. 

John Smith/WAER News

Numerous findings of bed bugs in Syracuse City Schools has the District working with various stakeholders to find the source of the problem.  At least 9 City schools have been confirmed with bed bugs showing-up this semester.  Chief Operations Officer Dean Desantis says the District’s Social Workers will often accompany the City Codes Enforcer to visit affected homes of students.

Leo Tully / WAER News

Central New Yorkers may be surprised to know that health insurance experts are optimistic about the upcoming open enrollment period.  New York’s runs from November 1st to January 31st, a full month-and-a-half longer than the Federal deadline.   ACR Health’s Director of Insurance Programs, Steve Wood says despite the uncertain future of federal healthcare, it’s as important as ever to get insured.

Chris Bolt/WAER News

The Spanish Action League of Syracuse is reorganizing its leadership to deal with Syracuse’s top ranking with the highest concentration of Hispanics living in poverty.  The League is now pursuing new partnerships with human service agencies and organizations.  Co-President Ramon Rivera says the organization has developed a new five point plan to meet their needs.

John Smith/WAER News

American Gold Star Mothers here in Central New York were recognized on Thursday at the Onondaga County War Memorial with a new exhibit in their honor.  The Mothers offer support to one another as they carry on the memory of their sons or daughters who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  A ceremony was held before the grand unveiling of the life-like display of a Mother dressed in a white uniform.  State President Carrie Farley describes how she lost her son Derek in August of 2010.

John Smith/WAER News

The Greater Syracuse Community and organizers want to uplift neighborhoods with colorful painted scenes on boards placed on decaying properties.  Their teamwork aims to improve neighborhood surroundings and to let residents know that others care.

A group gathers on a Saturday in the parking lot of a now defunct church on Syracuse’s South Side.  The Syracuse Land Bank owns the property at the corner of South Salina and Colvin Streets.  People are given large panels of primed boards set-up on horses to create some artistic flair.

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