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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David Renz Pleads Guilty
2:18 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Renz Confirms He's Responsible for a Liverpool Librarian's Murder and Sexual Assault on a Young Girl

County DA Bill Fitzpatrick speaks about David Renz and his guilty plea.
Credit Christian Bersani / WAER News

A Cicero man who stabbed a woman to death and sexually assaulted a young girl after kidnapping them at Great Northern Mall plead guilty in court Wednesday.


David Renz will face life in prison without the chance for parole. Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick was grateful to all police agencies that investigated this horrific crime.

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CHILDREN'S HEALTH
2:27 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Upstate Poison Control to Offer Free Calibrated Measuring Spoons for Kids to Avoid Misdosing

Upstate Medical Operation Med Spoon
Credit Upstate Poison Control

Medicine is meant to heal, but the wrong amount can do the opposite.  The Upstate Poison Center is launching a campaign to give parents the tools they need to give their children correct doses.  Director of Public Education and Communication Gail Banach says that many parents just don’t have the right tools.

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MOSQUITO BORNE DISEASE
5:10 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Onondaga County is Prepared to Fight Mosquitoes

A group of Onondaga County lawmakers today got an update on the health department’s mosquito control program.  We reported on Wednesday that there are likely to be more mosquitoes as a result of the wet weather, but not necessarily more disease.  Still, Health Commissioner Doctor Cynthia Morrow says West Nile virus and Triple-E are a part of the region’s ecology, and they’re trying to control it.


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Frank Malfitano Music Fans to Share Their Thoughts
2:45 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

JazzFest Producer says the "Festival Universe" is Changing

Credit 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.   

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Local News
12:08 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Syracuse Police Asking for More Leads After Arrest in Homicide Case

Syracuse Police Cheif Frank Fowler and Mayor Stephanie Miner
Credit 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.

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