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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THE DEATH OF NELSON MANDELA
5:45 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Mandela Remembered for His Legacy

Nelson Mandela spent nearly 30 years in prison because of his opposition to Apartheid.
Credit ©2007 Associated Press

Around the world, people are mourning the passing of former South African president, Nelson Mandela. He is remembered as a revolutionary against Apartheid and as a world leader. 

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Local News
3:05 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

"Buying Local" in Syracuse for The Holidays?

Mars Jewelry in Eastwood is offering specials to reel-in holiday shoppers
Credit John Smith / WAER News

Not every holiday shopper wants to compete with everyone else for gifts during annual Black Friday sales at malls.  There are plenty of people who are experiencing a leisurely pace this weekend, walking from store to store at Armory Square in Downtown Syracuse.  The secret shoppers we spoke with are searching for those special gifts such as Greg (yes, a man who actually shops early) from the city.

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Save the Rain
1:52 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Frustrated Businesses Coming Around on 'Save The Rain' Projects in Westcott

Save the Rain project on Westcott Street was recently finished
Credit John Smith/WAER News

  The raindrops were falling this morning… and the newest “Save The Rain” Project was seeping it all up in the Westcott Neighborhood.  

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Health & Medicine
5:17 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Leadership Changes at Loretto Address Changes in Elder Care

Kimberly Townsend will head up Loretto as President and CEO starting next year
Credit Warne/McKenna Advertising

  As Eldercare changes to provide more personalized care, Loretto in Syracuse has made some leadership changes as it continues to evolve. 

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Geriatric Mental Health
4:03 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Depression, Memory Loss and Other Mental Health Could Hurt Seniors' Physical Health

Dr. Steve Bartels talks to WAER's Jane Hong about improving mental health services for older Central New Yorkers.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

  Seniors in Central New York who aren’t having their mental health conditions addressed and a lack of prevention are likely contributing to rising healthcare costs.  A Geriatric Mental Health Community Action Initiative brought together members in Syracuse today to discuss the issues.  

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