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

History-Makers were sent to schools all over the country today to empower youth to keep them focused on their studies and to think about their futures.  Doctor Walter Broadnax, a Professor from the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University encouraged students to empower themselves to make positive change in the world at George Fowler High School.  Broadnax shared his own experiences as an African American youth in the U-S, dealing with bigotry and racism such as being attacked by a police officer for just smiling back at a white girl.  He also used to get into fights in school until he met a 19 year-old teacher at age 14.

(c) John Smith, WAER.

Central New York is home to several businesses that provide technology and products to the Department of Defense. Most of the companies that secure these contracts are not massive defense firms; rather they are smaller organizations that meet a specific need for the federal government. 

John Smith/WAER News

For the past few days, the New York State Urban Council hosted its annual Conference for a look into Syracuse’s Community programs and how new businesses revitalize Urban cities.  The first day led out of town guests on a guided tour through Syracuse. They are city planners and economic developers from all across the State.  Executive Director, Adria Finch gives us a glimpse of what they saw.

Chris Bolt/WAER News

The old boathouse at Syracuse’s Inner Harbor is the place where two local SUNY Universities learned they would be getting $20 million to expand educational programs on Onondaga Lake.  Governor Cuomo made the announcement and explains it will support college programs focused on job training. “Identify the job and the dream for that job. That’s what OCC does which is exactly right. ESF, water research and quality, it’s going to work for the lake, but it also has commercial applications.

John Smith/WAER News

It’s the time of year when Syracuse’s Little Italy reaches Downtown Syracuse for Festa Italiana.  When you hear Dean Martin’s voice filling the air with the aroma of Italian foods and baked goods, you better be leaving some room in your belly ! Don’t worry, you can dance it off. City, State and Festival organizers raised the Italian flag this morning to kick-off the 18th annual event.

9/11 Remembered 13 Years Later in Syracuse

Sep 11, 2014
Alexandra Linde/WAER News

The Syracuse Police and Fire Department gracefully marched to the Forman Park police memorial Thursday morning to honor those who died on 9-11-2001. Side by side, the members bowed their heads in respect to those who sacrificed their lives.

John Smith/WAER News

  A new $63 million surgical tower at St. Joseph’s Hospital is complete and ready to open later this month. The 104,000 square-foot addition features 110 private rooms with a view of Syracuse’s North Side Neighborhood. The hospital says research has shown private rooms create a healing environment that leads to people healing at a faster rate. Dr. Howard Zucker, the acting State Health Commissioner, says years ago, people’s senses automatically made them feel hospitals are not a place they would want to go visit.

John Smith/ WAER News

City of Syracuse residents will get together for an annual Summer Tradition tonight… 'Jazz in the City' returns!  The location is a bit different from previous years when concerts were held in City Neighborhoods.  Speaking to us recently at the New York State Fair, Producer Steve Becker says he’s noticed something that’s happening all-around tonight’s concert venue in Perseverance Park.

John Smith/WAER News

  Seven Elementary Schools were busy with surprise gifts on the first day of School, Tuesday.  Unexpected visitors dropped off backpacks with school supplies. 4,000 i-Zone students were ready to learn. The specialized schools offer an extended academic school day. The schedule is also designed to help out teachers with flexible school hours to provide extra help and the necessary planning time for professional staff development.  New Principal of the Seymour Dual-Language Academy, Ms.

John Smith/WAER News

Country Music Star Jason Aldean was no match, attendance wise, when offering $1.00 admission to the NYS Fair on Labor Day 2014. More people gave the turnstiles and ticket takers a work-out on Monday than they did when Aldean appeared on Saturday and helped to break the all-time attendance record for that day.

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