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 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

Shoshana Stahl / WAER News

The Onondaga County Executive unveiled her proposed budget for 2018 to County Lawmakers today trimming the budget by $15 million over last year.  She feels the $1.3 billion spending plan is a result of many factors including a significantly downsized staff of employees who take on more work.

File photo / John Smith/WAER News

What’s next for the Democratic Committee of Onondaga County after their designated candidate for Syracuse Mayor lost Tuesday's primary?  Committee Chair Mark English feels the outcome doesn’t mean that the committee was off course in their thinking.

John Smith / WAER News

The Sacrifices of those on 9/11 and the years that followed in U.S. led conflicts were honored yesterday by awarding a smart home to 27 year-old retired U.S Army SPC E-4 Matt Leyva.  We took a look at the homes smart features on Monday in Pompey.  A patriotic themed event was staged outside of the home.  Picture this.  U.S. flags lined the driveway leading to the new home and a giant flag suspended to partially block the full view.  And then it was unveiled with the crowd prompted to say, “MOVE THAT FLAG!”  The home is situated on a spacious lot with a panoramic view of evergreens.

Leyva was injured during a foot patrol in Afghanistan when he likely triggered an I.E.D.  The blast resulted in Leyva completely losing his legs and several fingertips on both hands and two years of recovery.  He was sent to Germany and then Texas to recover.  The home’s smart features are a dream come true.  Leyva spoke to the crowd over a microphone.

Taylor Epps / WAER News

A State Senator from Central New York wants homeowners to get tax credits of $2,750 to allow those with mobility issues to retrofit or build a new home.  The Universal Visitability tax credit legislation was most recently passed by the State Legislature during the 2017 session.  John DeFrancisco says the $5 million program would be spread across five years.

  

John Smith/WAER News

Wednesday marked the first day of school for the students of the Syracuse City School District. Mayor Stephanie Miner and Superintendent Jaime Alicea visited classrooms at Franklin Elementary to encourage students to start their school year off on the right foot.  Mayor Miner generated some excitement for learning how to read with her reading challenge.

John Smith / WAER News

The first ever Agriculture Career Day was held at the State Fair today to get youth interested in the other 99 percent of jobs they may have never heard of.  State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball says actual jobs on the farm in New York are less than 1 percent of the total agriculture workforce.

New Details Released in Oswego County Child Abuse Case

Sep 1, 2017
Oswego County Sheriff's Office

More details are out about the incredible case of alleged abuse against two children in the Oswego County town of Albion. It’s resulted in abuse and child endangerment charges against four people.  Oswego County Under-Sheriff Gene Sullivan says after reports of months of abuse of a ten-year-old, the investigation is looking for details.

Gabrielle Caracciolo / WAER News

Attending large events such as the New York State Fair can be a challenge to test one’s memory to navigate through the new midway versus the more familiar areas.  Loretto is reaching out to people on Senior Day to give fairgoers an opportunity to sign-up for memory health assessments with Clarity Clinical Research and to increase community awareness.  Clarity Research Specialist Lisa Sonneborn says efforts to increase education are helping New York’s memory care to stand out.

Ranking Shows New York Can Do Better to Prevent Cancer

Aug 23, 2017
American Cancer Society

How is New York State ranking on its Cancer-Fighting Public Policies?  The American Cancer Society recently released a progress report on State Legislative Activity to prevent cancer and mortality.  It shows that New York State scored highly in just four out of the nine areas of public policy.  ACS State Government Relations Director Julie Hart says despite the progress the state has achieved, New York still needs improvement in the fight against cancer.

nysfair.ny.gov

The New York State Fair is fast approaching and fairgoers have a lot to look forward to.  With only six days left until the fair begins, many are unsure of what to expect now that the first phase of renovations has wrapped up.  Acting State Fair Director Troy Waffner was the guest speaker at today’s FOCUS Greater Syracuse forum.  He discussed attractions and features that attendees will notice during the fair’s 13-day run.

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