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

taking the tarp off a wooden parks sign
John Smith / WAER News

It’s been a long time coming, but Heath Park in Syracuse now has another entrance.  SUNY Environmental College of Science and Forestry has officially given two acres of land that borders a residential neighborhood to the city parks department.  

hand with a wristband stretched across it
John Smith / WAER News

A group of people in Onondaga County who work with older adults want to make sure they know how to protect themselves from scams and elder abuse.

Wednesday was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and Vera House estimates that 6,000 incidents in the County went unreported in 2013.

Vera House Spokesperson Jenny Hicks says Elder Abuse can take many different forms:

John Smith/WAER News

The summer harvest is here and a bountiful selection of crops of fresh fruits and vegetables are ripe for the picking in Syracuse. The Downtown Farmer’s Market kicks off its season today in Clinton Square with over 50 farmers and produce dealers.  Delaney Farms from Syracuse has made countless trips over 28 years.  Joanne Delaney says all of  their products are homegrown.

John Smith/WAER News

The City of Syracuse Parks and Recreation Department had to put the Meachem Rink operations ‘on ice’ in April when the cooling system broke down.  Thanks to State Grants and the research for a less expensive solution, the rink will reopen in the fall.  Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli and Senator Dave Valesky helped to secure about $460,000 dollars in capital support.  Valesky says the timing was right after recently finalizing the State Budget.


John Smith/WAER News

A Central New York Vietnam Veteran who likely died of cancer from Agent Orange exposure now has his name on proposed legislation to support other veterans and families.  The Lawrence J. Hackett, Jr. Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange Fairness Act unveiled today would ensure that veterans and their families would get the necessary healthcare and compensation to cover them.  A longtime friend of Hackett’s, Judge Joseph Fahey says his friend’s story is similar to others.


Maxwell School website.

The Director of National Security Studies at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School is relieved that a US soldier has been returned but, he's also concerned about the release of five high level Taliban operatives.  Bill Smullen has been keeping a close watch on developments.  He says the released detainees are dangerous planners and thinkers.

Move to Amend website.

A national Democracy Activist speaking tonight (6/2/2014) in Syracuse is hoping to keep the momentum going for a movement to end Corporate Personhood.  In essence, he says it provides for the same rights as humans.  Move to Amend Spokesperson David Cobb says the problem is that several laws safeguard corporations through constitutional rights.

John Smith/WAER News

Syracuse homeowners will be paying 1.5 percent more on their upcoming city tax bills in July.  The Syracuse Common Council approved the measure today to override Mayor Stephanie Miner’s spending veto. 

poetry.org

The passing of Poet and activist Maya Angelou was felt with sorrow and respect by writers here in Central New York. 

John Smith, WAER News

A combination of stormy weather and spending more time outdoors this summer is a good refresher for what to do when encountering power lines on the ground in Central New York.  About 400 students at Allen Road Elementary in North Syracuse participated in workshops today with National Grid representatives.

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