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

Democratic challengers running for Onondaga County Legislature say they want voters to have more access to government transparency and public input. The four fresh candidates in front of the County Courthouse in Syracuse unveiled a 5 point plan.  Tim Rudd is challenging 15th District Legislator and Legislature Chair Ryan McMahon. The group is calling for automatic public notices when a candidate’s financial disclosure forms are filed and higher amounts required in print.

DeWitt Canal Day Reaches 47 Years

Aug 3, 2015
Yonah Perline/WAER News

Thousands attended the 47th annual DeWitt Canal Day over the weekend trying to raise more awareness about the recreation and other advantages the area has for the region.  Event supervisor Christine Manchester says the trail system along the canal does draw significant attention.

John Smith/WAER News

The Onondaga Lakeview Amphitheater project is moving full speed ahead to time to welcome its first official act during the 2015 New York State Fair. Construction crews have been busy working a couple of shifts daily for months.  Country singer-songwriter Miranda Lambert will be the first official concert act on Thursday, September 3rd. In a statement provided by the County Executive’s office and concert promoter Live Nation, the singer acknowledges that she is no stranger to the area.

John Smith/ WAER News

At least things seem to go together well when we approach these hot days of summer, a shady spot, cool drinks and music!  The line-up of Jazz in the City will return next month with four free concerts to cover all city neighborhoods with national and local jazz artists.  Organizers are offering more concerts this year after being awarded a $10,000 dollar “Challenge America” grant.  Larry Luttinger says the concerts are being delivered to residents who may not ever be able to travel downtown for the larger summer festivals.

John Smith/WAER News

Just before the foot of the bridge on US Route 11 North that crosses over the New York State Canal in Brewerton where drivers are about to leave Onondaga County and magically cross over into Oswego County on the other side is a park you might miss the entrance to. That’s because there is no official entrance.  

John Smith, WAER News

About 135 businesses have officially been created since the Syracuse Tech Garden opened to offer free office space and business support.  The high-tech space is marking its 10th Anniversary today with a full day of events and giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to network. Judges also listened to the next regional start-ups pitch their ideas for cash awards.

John Smith, WAER News

The 4th of July holiday is a time when local villages and towns host parades and one of the longest is held every year in the Village of Manlius.  The only exception to that rule is if the 4th falls on a Sunday. The floats and marchers get underway on Saturday beginning at 10 AM and a carnival that follows at 11 AM.

John Smith, WAER News

The skies of Central New York will be lit up over the holiday weekend with fireworks displays.  A local doctor and fire official are worried about children getting burned with hand-held sparklers.  Even more so this year because they say the sale of sparklers in Cortland and Madison counties is legal during the holiday time.  The State allows each county to decide if they can be offered for sale. City of Syracuse Deputy Fire Chief Steve Cavuto says kids under the age of 5 get injured by sparklers.

John Smith / WAER News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner confirmed Wednesday morning that a 28 year-old man is presumed dead following severe weather Tuesday night.  He was assisting other motorists caught in a flash flood; however his body has yet to be found.  The incident happened at the intersection of East Fayette and Croly Streets at the peak of the storm. 28 year-old Brandon Closure and his female passenger managed to push their vehicle out of waist-high water. Miner says he then noticed other stranded motorists who were also in distress.

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.