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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Third Annual Valor Day Helps Veterans Transition
6:33 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

SU Law School Event Provides Free Legal and Career Services to Veterans

The College of Law will provide legal and vocational assistance at its third Valor Day this Saturday, April 5th
Credit Veterans Issues, Support Initiative and Outreach Network

The Syracuse University College of Law will again partner with the Veterans Issues, Support Initiative and Outreach Network (VISION) to host its third Valor Day this Saturday, April 5. As a way of giving back to those who have served, law students, alumni and local volunteers will provide free legal and advocacy services for veterans, service members and their families.  

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Health & Medicine
6:39 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Dozens of Upstate Medical Students Learn Their Residency Assignment on "Match Day"

Kilali Iyallo is heading to Texas for her residency.
Credit John Smith / WAER News

The waiting and anxiety is over for about 150 fourth-year SUNY Upstate medical school students Friday who learned where they’ll begin their residencies.  

They opened envelopes as part of the annual rite of passage called “match day.”  The students we spoke to all received their first choices.  

Class co-president Dan Harris is one of five who will complete their residencies at St. Joseph's hospital in Syracuse.  Other facts about this graduation class: 

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ACR IS STATE CERTIFIED TO RUN TRAINING PROGRAM
2:26 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

ACR Health in Syracuse to Offer Training and Kits to Prevent Fatal Overdoses on Opiates and Heroin.

This kit and medicine will be offered through training at ACR to assist people and providers dealing with an overdosed person.
Credit Keegan Tatum / WAER News

Local ambulances and hospitals in Onondaga County have had access to a reversal agent that stops the effects of heroin and opiate pain killers to prevent overdoses for about a month. Now, through a grant, ACR Health in Syracuse is offering training programs for people to get legally trained to administer the drug in the event someone they know is overdosing.

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ST. PATRICKS DAY IN SYRACUSE
3:21 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Poster Artist Adds His Touch to Syracuse's St. Patrick's Festivities

Poster Artist John Francis McCarthy and Parade Pres. Janet Higgins.
Credit John Smith / WAER News

The green stripe has been painted on Salina Street.  Parade-goers are getting their green on.  It's time again for St. Patrick's Day Syracuse-style.  The 32nd annual parade gets underway Saturday at noon, and focuses on Ireland's 32 counties and four provinces.    But amid the revelry, floats, green beer, and Irish dancers is the the  poster designed with a piece of Irish history.  

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FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
6:15 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Food Bank Examines Scope of Hunger in Central New York

Volunteers from Dairy Marketing Services help sort food at the Food Bank of Central New York
Credit Food Bank of Central New York

The face of hunger is changing locally, according to an assessment completed by the Food Bank of Central New York.  The Food Bank recently wrapped up a survey of the scope of hunger in the region, and the results supported stories they’ve heard from their emergency food program partners.  Food Bank Executive Director Kathleen Stress says the picture of hunger has traditionally been a homeless man visiting a soup kitchen.  Now, she says it’s shifted, and it can be more present in your daily lives than you might expect:  

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