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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VETERANS DAY 2013
6:40 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Central New York Remembers and Honors its Veterans

Carol Anne Wood recites one of her granddaughter’s favorite poems.
Credit WAER News

Veterans and their families gathered at the War Memorial Tuesday for a celebration and honoring of their service. Carol Anne Wood is the grandmother of a woman currently serving in the U-S Army.  She would write poems for her granddaughter and the platoon, and quickly became known as the platoon grandmother.

Unfortunately not all service members are able to return to their families and communities. A special table was set up to honor those Missing in Action or who are Prisoners of War.      

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Domestic and Sexual Violence Report
11:46 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Vera House Presents 24th Annual Report to Community

Sexual abuse survivor Monique
Credit John Smith / WAER

Vera House released its 24th Annual Report to the Community on Wednesday, providing a snapshot of Domestic and Sexual Violence.  The statistics are disturbing. 

In 2012, The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office and Syracuse Police Department answered more than 18,300 domestic violence calls combined, leading to more than 2,500 perpetrator arrests. 

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Joe Turrisi's Camera Work Seen by Thousands
8:34 am
Sat October 26, 2013

Former WSTM-TV 3 Production Manager Shaped Syracuse TV History

Former WSTM Production Manager and Floor Director, Joe Turrisi
Credit Mark Nicotra

If you've lived long enough in Central New York to remember Channel 3's "Monster Movie Matinee," you've seen the production work of Joe Turrisi.  The former Production Manager and Floor Director died recently at the age of 81.  He built the sets for the show and is featured in a recently completed documentary about it.

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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
5:41 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Safe To Sleep Campaign Kicks Off at Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital

Upstate Infant Clemencia Molina and Linda McAleer
John Smith WAER News

The Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital wants anyone who cares for a baby to keep an uncluttered crib in mind.  Its part of a Safe Sleep Awareness Campaign called Safe to Sleep. 

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Destiny USA
5:54 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

New Luxury Outlets at Destiny USA Could Bring More Job Opportunities

Armani one of three high-end outlets that opened Monday at Destiny
Credit John Smith/WAER News

Destiny USA continues to add to its plethora of available stores and this new wave is bringing in some high end brands. Companies such as Giorgio Armani, Salvatore Ferragamo and Johnson & Murphy now have outlet locations in Destiny’s newest wing.

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