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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NOT TOO CLOSE. THIS IS LAVA!
9:58 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Frigid Cold on the Way No Match for Lava Experiment at Syracuse University

Lava gets tipped from a furnace.
John Smith / WAER News

There’s another frigid burst of weather chilling down Syracuse.  But one science experiment is really heating things up… by about 2,100 degrees on the SU hill.  There was one ‘hot spot’ to be found on Monday near Manley Field House.  An outdoor furnace with a bright, orange glow.

Listen to the Lava Experiment story here.

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DR. TEMPLE GRANDIN HAS AUTISM AND INSPIRES MANY.
2:41 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Nationally Renowned Autism Expert in Liverpool to Speak to Parents

Dr. Temple Grandin from the University of Colorado.
Credit Temple Grandin's Website.

A nationally renowned expert in Autism has made her way to Syracuse to speak with parents tonight.  Dr. Temple Grandin has been heard on NPR’s Fresh Air and has been sharing her life through books and appearances.  Grandin says she received very early childhood intervention when she was a child. One of the problems Grandin sees with kids on the higher end of the Autism spectrum is they’re not learning work skills.  She says that instruction needs happen well before High School Graduation.

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WALLIE HOWARD JUNIOR CASE
2:03 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Syracuse Police Officer's Killer Eligible for Parole in 2020

Officer Wallie Howard, Junior.
Credit Syracuse Police website.

The man who fatally shot Syracuse Police Officer Wallie Howard, Junior in 1990 will be eligible for parole in six years after a ruling today by a Federal Judge in Utica to shorten his sentence to 31 years.  Robert Lawrence faced life in prison but, became eligible for re-sentencing in 2012 following a U-S Supreme Court ruling.

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COUNTY SHERIFF'S RACE TAKING MORE SHAPE
3:19 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Onondaga County Sheriff Kevin Walsh Makes Career Announcement

Onondaga County's longest running Sheriff Kevin Walsh announces his future intentions.
Credit John Smith / WAER News

Another missing piece to the puzzle of who’s running for Onondaga County Sheriff this year became clearer today. Sheriff Kevin Walsh’s longstanding career for the county’s top law enforcement job has spanned 20 years and he was also on the force for another 20 years prior. Walsh threw a bit of a curveball when he first said that he wasn’t retiring and discussed his many teaching jobs in law enforcement that he intends to continue.  However, what about his current job?

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CNY ALSO BRACES FOR FRIGID COLD
3:08 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Winter Storm Causes Governor Cuomo to Issue State of Emergency

File Photo.
Credit NYS Office of Emergency Management website

A winter storm that’s been called ‘Hercules’ is really packing a punch over the Northeast and has also been making its presence known here in Central New York. Frigid cold temperatures are forecasted to plunge to around zero with windchills dropping to minus ten to 20 below.  In advance of the storm on Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo Activated the State Emergency Operations Center.  He also issued a State of Emergency Thursday night.  An emergency management team continues tracking the frigid weather to decide where snowplows and other storm resources are needed. 

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