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

The Grand Marshall of this year’s Labor Day Parade at the State Fair was led by a current military member.  Senior Master SGT. Toby Shelly’s 29 year career in the military has taken him on a rewarding journey.  He’s now a Superintendent with craftsmen for an Engineering Unit with the 174th Fighter Wing at Hancock Field.

John Smith, WAER News / 2013 NYS State Fair Exhibit

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take a trip through New York State Fair History in Syracuse?  The ferris wheel wasn't always on the midway as we know it today.


John Smith / WAER News


The State Fair is winding down, and if you’re looking for something different to check out, the Empire State Theatre and Musical Museum in the Art and Home Center might fit the bill.  Sure, you’ll be hoofing it all over the fairgrounds, but spare yourself some energy to perform some 'pedal pumping' on a player piano from the early 1900’s.




Dan Maffei and Leslie Kohman
Darryl Geddes / Upstate University Medical Center

Construction on the Upstate Cancer Research Center at University Hospital in Syracuse is rapidly taking shape. 

The center will have a variety of medical services in a centralized location.  Many services are already being offered, like a specialized psychologist, who works to help the emotional and psychological needs that cancer patients and families deal with, and an integrated medicine specialist, who advises patients on non-traditional therapies they may wish to add to their traditional treatment methods. 

John Smith/WAER News

Choosing a Medicare plan is probably not on the minds of seniors attending the state fair during Tuesday's senior day. 

Syracuse Latino Festival Returns for 2013

Aug 8, 2013
Fanny Villarreal
John Smith, WAER News

The Syracuse Latino-Americano Festival is back again, and organizer Fanny Villarreal says it is going to be better than ever before.

WAER News- Christian Bersani

From volcanoes in science class to high-energy Zumba workouts, O.C.C. is opening its doors to college life for students with learning disabilities from all over the Onondaga County.


The week-long New Visions program is currently underway for handicapped community members who wish to experience college as any other student would.  Program Director Amy Mech says this is a chance for disabled students to be educated and build social skills in a much more familiar setting.

Regional transportation officials fear the community will be polarized over what to do with the elevated portion of Interstate 81 through Syracuse.  Engineers just got the green light to spend the next few months conducting an environmental impact review of the various options, and narrow them down to one or two.

State Telecommunications Association

A federal phone number monitoring agency says the 315 area code will run out of useable "new" numbers by the beginning of 2015.  To combat this, the State Public Service Commission is calling on people living within the area code to express opinions on how to proceed. 

John Smith / WAER News

Existing home sales were up nationally in July and Central New Yorkers are likely shopping around because of low interest rates.  Mortgage loan originations climbed six percent this year when compared to the first and second quarter of last year.  There are many factors driving the market these days according to a Chase Mortgage Executive.  Lisa Foradori feels the steady unemployment rates could play a significant role.

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