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 ! 

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SISTERS OF ST. FRANCIS AND ST. JOE'S OPEN MUSEUM
2:19 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

St. Marianne Cope Shrine and Museum Shines Brightly on her Life from Syracuse to Hawaii

A museum wall lends itself to an impressive depth perspective of this photo.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

It’s been a long time since Saint Marianne Cope established St. Joseph’s Hospital and then left in 1888 as part of a request she answered in 1883 to care for ill Leprosy patients in Hawaii.  Her legacy will not be forgotten in Syracuse with a permanent shrine and museum in her honor.  The official blessing was held today at the hospital.  Sister Geraldine Ching is originally from Hawaii and assisted with gathering the historical journey of St. Marianne.

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PARKS AND RECREATION
6:38 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

ESF College Foundation Donates Land to Expand Heath Park

Mayor Miner and ESF President Wheeler unveil the new entrance and sign at the James E. Heath park in Valley
Credit John Smith / WAER News

It’s been a long time coming, but Heath Park in Syracuse now has another entrance.  SUNY Environmental College of Science and Forestry has officially given two acres of land that borders a residential neighborhood to the city parks department.  

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ELDER ABUSE
6:10 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Elder Abuse Awareness

Stop Elder Abuse wristbands were sold at the event
Credit John Smith / WAER News

A group of people in Onondaga County who work with older adults want to make sure they know how to protect themselves from scams and elder abuse.

Wednesday was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and Vera House estimates that 6,000 incidents in the County went unreported in 2013.

Vera House Spokesperson Jenny Hicks says Elder Abuse can take many different forms:

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FARMERS BRING THEIR CROPS TO CLINTON SQUARE
2:22 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Downtown Syracuse Farmer's Market Kicks-off the 2014 Summer Season

Fruits on sale at the Downtown Farmer's Market.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

The summer harvest is here and a bountiful selection of crops of fresh fruits and vegetables are ripe for the picking in Syracuse. The Downtown Farmer’s Market kicks off its season today in Clinton Square with over 50 farmers and produce dealers.  Delaney Farms from Syracuse has made countless trips over 28 years.  Joanne Delaney says all of  their products are homegrown.

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HOCKEY / SKATING RINK TO STAY OPEN YEAR-ROUND
2:28 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Meachem Rink to Reopen with New Refrigeration Technology. Price Tag: 460K in State Capital Dollars

From left to right: Common Councilor Bob Dougherty, Senator Dave Valesky, City of Syracuse Parks and Rec Commissioner Baye Muhammad, Mayor Stephanie Miner, and Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli (partially obstructed).
Credit John Smith/WAER News

The City of Syracuse Parks and Recreation Department had to put the Meachem Rink operations ‘on ice’ in April when the cooling system broke down.  Thanks to State Grants and the research for a less expensive solution, the rink will reopen in the fall.  Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli and Senator Dave Valesky helped to secure about $460,000 dollars in capital support.  Valesky says the timing was right after recently finalizing the State Budget.

Listen to John Smith's interview with Senator Dave Valesky and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner concerning the upgrades that will be made to Meachem Ice Rink in the Valley Section of Syracuse.

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