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

Courtesy Syracuse JazzFest

Just days after JazzFest at Jamesville Beach, Producer Frank Malfitano wants fans to share their thoughts.  He stopped by the WAER studios to give us his take which is quite candid.  Overall, he feels the festival went very well and the performers he says were really into it.  Click here to listen to a WAER web exclusive interview with Malfitano.


Although Malfitano is still crunching the numbers, it looks as though the 375-thousand dollar festival that is free to attend will break even this year.   

John Smith / WAER News

Following the recent arrest of a Syracuse man in a homicide case in May, the City’s Police Chief is asking for more leads and reassuring the public.  Police arrested Lynnquan Kellin earlier this week as he stepped off a Centro Bus in Solvay.


Chief Frank Fowler says Kellin shot and killed Arthur Bullock in the head as he attempted to rob his friends at his home on Fage Ave.  Despite random acts of violence, Fowler says officers are out working tirelessly to bring people like these into custody.

Onondaga County Sheriff's Office

Onondaga County’s Air One Helicopter Assisted State Police Tuesday night on Interstate 81 North following a stolen pick-up truck from Texas.  Authorities say the driver of the truck sped through three counties.


Air One provided lighting and communication which allowed Troopers to lower their speeds.  The vehicle in pursuit finally became stuck in the median at the Adams Center Exit in Jefferson County and the suspect was arrested.

Governor Cuomo's Press Office

Governor Cuomo plans to follow up with the White House after he’s heard nothing about a request he made for federal disaster assistance to aid the Mohawk Valley.  Torrential downpours in late June caused extensive flooding.  Cuomo returned over the weekend to reassess conditions following the on-going recovery efforts.

Herkimer County

Heavy rains in Central New York tore through Herkimer County last night in what is being called the worst flooding of the decade. 

smoothvibes.com

CNY Jazz held a press conference today at CNY Jazz Central to reveal the 2013 NE Jazz & Wine Festival lineup.  Taking place in Clinton Square July 26-27, the festival will again feature two days of free jazz, smooth jazz and R&B programming on three stages.

John Smith / WAER News

For a few hours on Friday night in Downtown Syracuse, the surrounding streets had no name, at least metaphorically speaking.  Perhaps the U-2 Cover Band "Desire" had a street car named the same?  Instead of a stomp your feet Polka beat, it was Rock N' Roll for the beginning of Polish Fest 2013.

 

Max Brady, WAER News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is joining forces with local Women’s Rights and Health supporters to call on the State Legislature to pass the Women’s Equality Act.  The Mayor gathered with advocates today at the Harriett-May-Mills House in Syracuse to help push the bill along before the legislative session ends.  

Syracuse Downtown Farmers' Market Opens

Jun 11, 2013
Max Brady

A rainy start to the Downtown Syracuse Farmers’ Market today didn’t keep it from opening with a splash.  Workers stopped by on their lunch breaks to enjoy the fresh produce and baked goods, and left with items to take home.  The weekly event featured dozens of vendors selling fruits, vegetables, wine, baked goods, dairy products and decorative plants.

Max Chepenuk of Cazenovia had his life change instantly in January of 2005, when a ski jump concluded tragically. "I was airlifted to Upstate in the most expensive helicopter ride I will never remember.”   

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