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

Onondaga County to Sue Opioid Drug Makers Over "Misleading Information"

Jul 27, 2017
CREDIT UPSTATE.EDU/POISON/NEWS/HEROIN-DATA.PHP / UPSTATE MEDICAL UNIVERSITY

Onondaga County Lawmakers are preparing to file a lawsuit against opioid drug manufacturers for what they maintain is misleading information about the drugs that has fueled the county’s opioid and heroin epidemic.  Syracuse University School of Law Professor Nina Kohn says even if the county shows the drug manufacturer’s engaged in deceptive behavior, the court could still find they’re not legally responsible.

Harriet Tubman Freedom Music Festival

The City of Auburn is celebrating the life of abolitionist Harriet Tubman and her tireless efforts to guide slaves to safety.  The 2nd annual Harriet Tubman Freedom Music Festival will be held tonight in the city.  Executive Producer and music composer Sean McLeod a puts his heart and soul into the festival.  People will hear his voice and music at the festival that he refers to as A Soundtrack for Harriet Tubman. It's the result of his hard work that's truly been a long journey.  He first wrote music for a play about Tubman in 1990 and then he was commissioned in 1993 for a re-adaptation into a musical.

John Smith/WAER News

Members of the Congolese Community of C.N.Y. gathered at Syracuse City Hall as part of a flag raising ceremony.  Former Congolese Community President Cyprien Mahigo is concerned about people in the Congo and the partially reinstated U.S. Travel Ban.

Cornell Law website.

A Co-Director of Cornell Law School’s Asylum and Convention Against Torture Appellate Clinic feels there’s not much more the federal government can do to further screen or vet refugees and immigrants.  Professor and Acting Immigration Lawyer Steve Yale-Loehr says he understands the need to evaluate the screening process as a matter of National Security.  But he says the rules are already stringent for refugees to gain entry into the U.S.

John Smith/WAER News

Full-time elected officials can often ride-out their popularity to keep them in office, indefinitely.  That’s why you might not expect a politician now in her third term to propose term-limits.  However, that’s precisely what the Onondaga County Executive is proposing.  She also wants county elected officials to hold one job.

John Smith/WAER News

Lakeview Amphitheater Concertgoers in Syracuse will notice some improvements this year and more is on the way.  All of the internal walkways and a centrally located A.D.A. parking lot with 125 spaces have been paved to allow for a better experience for those who have mobility issues.  Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney says a select number of boaters will be able to arrive to the shows and dock.

John Smith/WAER News

This weekend the City of Syracuse marks 152nd Anniversary of when African Americans learned they would be freed from slavery.  The Juneteenth Flag Raising ceremony at Syracuse City Hall reflected on the past and the promise of a brighter future.  Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner presented a proclamation.

John Smith/WAER News

The leader of the Oneida Indian Nation was the guest speaker for Centerstate C.E.O.’s Bi-Annual Speakers Series on Thursday and shared his visions on how the business community can collaborate to enhance the Central New York Economy.  Ray Halbritter says diversity in business lends itself to creating positive outcomes.

John Smith/WAER News

Central New York has been getting more than its fair share of cool temperatures and rain this spring.  So, we checked in with the National Weather Service to see what’s going on?  If you think that you’ve been missing the sunshine, Meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Binghamton can relate.  Brian Tenninger says they can’t recall a long stretch of sunny days since May.

New York Power Authority

New York State is seeking $1.5 billion dollars of private investment to increase the state’s renewable energy production.  Governor Cuomo recently announced the plan following President Trump’s recent decision to pull-out of the Paris Climate Agreement.  Cuomo hopes to considerably increase clean energy infrastructure and jobs by 2020.  The initiative is the largest renewable energy pledge of any state in U.S. history.

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