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

John Smith/WAER News

  Seniors from Corcoran High School we’re out enjoying the nice day with a picnic just for them Monday at Santaro Park on Onondaga Hill.  They signed a board indicating where they’ll enjoy a tuition-free education through the Say Yes to Education program. It’s a perk that’s provided to all graduating students in good academic standing in the Syracuse City School District.  Jakubek  Wicks decided he wanted to pursue his love of music in his hometown.

John Smith/WAER News

 Vera House has been leading the discussion and educating the public about domestic and sexual violence in Central New York for several decades. Every year they pause to remember one of their founders, Sister Mary Vera by presenting another community member with an award who carries on her humanitarian spirit. Physical Education Teacher Joe Moran from the Hughes School and the Director of the Building Men program is this year’s recipient. For 9 years since he started the program, Moran and his team have been working with Syracuse City School District students on character building and relationships.

John Smith/WAER News

  The growing Agri-business and food processing industries in Central New York are calling for specially trained workers and skill sets. Onondaga Community College is developing the curriculum to support employee demand by partnering with the state and employers.

ESF.edu

  A giant helium balloon was launched from the SUNY E-S-F campus at the end of April. It was unknown if the attached pay-loader, with a computer, camera and science experiments inside, would ever be found.  That's until a hiker came across the module in a swamp near Cortland.  

In.gov

  Drug prevention experts say the finding of the latest methamphetamine lab in Cicero this past week is an opportunity for the community to learn more about the drug and its impacts.  A tip led Onondaga County Sheriff’s Deputies to a home on Bellwood Circle where they found materials for a home Meth lab throughout the house.  Prevention Network Executive Director Beth Hurney explains the chemicals used are dangerous and volatile.

John Smith/WAER News

  Syracuse activists feel they’re gaining momentum after the State Assembly passed the New York Health Act.  The vote Wednesday was 90 to 47.  They hope the legislation will pave the way for everyone in New York State to someday have equal access to health care.  The act aims to provide universal healthcare by eliminating insurance co-pays, premiums, deductibles or provider networks.

Rob Romano/WAER News

 

     Downtown Syracuse is already in bloom for summer this year. More than 330 hanging flower baskets are dressing up city streets in Clinton Square, Armory Square, and even near the fountain at Hanover Square

John Smith/WAER News

Part of springtime for Syracuse home owners is to get outside and put their finishing touches on their properties with landscaping, painting or adding something new. It can become competitive on a friendly level and the Eastwood Neighborhood Association is looking for 20 of the best homes.

File Photo / WAER News

On the first really nice Sunday of the spring season, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo drew in 5,000 people. The Friends of the Zoo are looking to build on many successes with new animals and exhibits by drawing in more crowds as part of a 20 year master plan. Today they took a look back on the past year and what’s ahead. President and C.E.O. Janet Agostini says 362,000 visitors came in 2014.

John Smith/ WAER News

Several Central New York minority and women-owned businesses spent their Friday finding out how to get assistance or to expand their businesses becoming eligible to get state contracted work.  Regional Opportunities Expo’s are being held across the State and came to the State Fairgrounds.  Lourdes Zapata is the Executive Director of the State Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development. She says the healthiest economy has diversity.

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