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, 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

Gov. Cuomo's flickr page

Governor Cuomo brought his regional state of the state message to Syracuse Wednesday, where his localized proposals ranged from transportation to the creation of high tech jobs. 

The governor says 7,700 jobs have been created in Central New York since 2010.  And now, 260 more are coming as a military defense and civil security company looks to expand its presence in the eastern suburbs.

Julia Watson/AQE

A huge gathering of about 500 education officials, parents and students from across the state were bused to Albany on Tuesday to rally for $4.3 billion in state education funding for public schools.  The Alliance for Quality Education is making the case early in the budget season but, they feel the funds can’t come quickly enough.  Legislative Director Jasmine Gripper says students are not always graduating college ready.

An Associate Political Science Professor at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School says Wednesday’s speech by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry about ways to establish peace in the Middle East was really an admission he wasn’t able to broker a deal.  Last week, the United States abstained from voting against a U.N. Security Council resolution which found fault with Jewish settlements in Israeli occupied territories situated along the West Bank. Miriam Elman thinks Kerry’s speech and the recent U.N. Security Council resolution doesn’t match-up.

www.cnyspca.org/

You might be the kind of family that had a gift under the tree for the family dog – or dogs – or the cats, birds, ferrets or whatever your pets.  Well another way to honor animals might be to consider their welfare and their value in your holiday or year-end charitable giving.  The Central New York S-P-C-A uses donations and bequests to provide medical care for animals and a safe haven for those abandoned or mistreated.  The agency also does

http://upstate.edu/gch/

If charitable giving is on your list during the holiday season, here are some agencies focused on helping children.  The medical needs of children at the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse vary greatly and some families have extended stays of 100 days or more.  Coordinator of Pediatric Programs, Jenny Dickinson says giving directly to the hospital is an option to assist families.

hanna.house.gov

Two of the items passed at today’s Onondaga County legislature were more symbolic than concrete – but both could mean real differences for some local residents.  Lawmakers unanimously urged Congress to create a registry for cancer incidence among firefighters.  City firefighter Mike Valenti is also President of the New York Cancer Foundation.  He told legislators about severe health risks on every call.

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.

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