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

twitter@skigreekpeak

For anxious skiers and snowboarders eager to hit the slopes, Central New York’s mountains have good news: they’re officially open…and staying open as of this weekend.  Recent snowfall and frigid temperatures are already proving this year is off to a better than the last, which has Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Greek Peak Mountain Resort Jessica Sloma both thankful and excited.

Federal Highway Administration / mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/

As everyone anticipates what design will be adopted for the I-81 project through Syracuse, one Onondaga County Legislator already predicts how the construction will impact motorists.  John Dougherty wants to formally ask the Governor and the State to make the construction project easier for motorists and communities.

"What I'd like to see is tolls eliminated between exits 39 and 34-A," Dougherty said.  "So anyone getting on or off between any of those exits would simply not pay a toll.”  

Scott Willis/WAER News

The twists and turns of the options to address the aging I-81 viaduct through Syracuse and what residents think or really desire is about to take center stage this Wednesday evening.  A public information forum will be held at Henninger High School with members of the State D-O-T and a local delegation of state elected officials to listen. 

Senator John DeFrancisco says there are members of the public who feel the options haven’t been considered in a comprehensive way.

“We understand what the DOT wants to do. But we really want to get points brought out in the public, and more importantly, questions answered as far as what is going to happen, and some think that other alternatives have to be explored.”

John Smith/WAER News

Bishops representing the Episcopal Church are coming to Syracuse as the local Central New York Denomination Consecrates its first female Bishop tomorrow, the eleventh for the church.  The Presiding US Bishop of the Church, The Most Reverend Michael Curry will preside over the service.  He is the first African-American to lead the church.  In terms of instilling Social Justice, he likens what he think needs to be done by people to the teachings of the church.

John Smith/WAERNews

The annual World AIDS Day Service was observed at LeMoyne College on Thursday morning.  The “Service of Remembrance” was filled with reflective readings, stirring music and handmade quilts bearing the names of loved ones.

John Smith/WAERNews

The developer of the Marriott Syracuse Downtown is taking on another multi-million dollar building renovation project right across the street.  The old Symphony Tower, which was once connected to the old hotel by a pedestrian bridge, will take $24 to $26 million to complete and will be up and running by next fall, according to Co-Owner, Ed Riley.  He says that amount factors in the work that’s previously been performed and what’s left to complete.  Riley doesn’t think the new Hyatt brand hotel will  compete with the Marriott.

Syracuse First website.

A reminder to shoppers during the holiday shopping season, you may want to consider the benefits of shopping with local businesses in Central New York to grow the local economy.  For seven years, a local organization’s mission has been to see if consumers will actually commit to making a ten percent shift of their purchases with locally-owned businesses.  Syracuse First is hosting its annual Buy Local Bash next Monday at the F-Shed Regional Market.  Executive Director Chris Fowler says the number of vendors continues to increase for the event.

Whitman School of Management website.

Diehard Black Friday Shoppers might be trained to think the best deals are only to be found on Black Friday but, a Professor of Retail Practice at Syracuse University’s Whitman School says that’s changed.

John Smith, WAER News

Onondaga County Authorities say it appears that a drug deal gone bad resulted in the homicide of a former Syracuse University Student in DeWitt in September.  Cameron Isaac of North Syracuse and Ninimbe Mitchell from Syracuse are charged with 2nd degree murder and first degree robbery.  County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick promised there could be additional arrests and made a plea for the return of the murder weapon.

file photo

Earlier this year the tragic story of Baby Maddox Lawrence captivated the Central New York Community.  Today her father, Ryan Lawrence was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole for her murder.  Lawrence expressed regrets in court and took responsibility.

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