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

John Smith/WAER News

Syracuse City officials say they too are mourning the loss of a 12-year-old boy tragically shot and killed on John Street Wednesday night.  They’re now asking for community support to provide information and band together to stop the violence. 


John Smith / WAER News

A new installation of electric vehicle chargers in DeWitt is part of a move by the state to increase use of EVs. Three new stations were unveiled Monday at the DeWitt Town Hall.


Scott Willis/WAER News

There will be an unexpected change at the top of Onondaga County government this fall after County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced Monday that she will step down to take an administrative post at SUNY ESF.  Mahoney has one year left in her third term in office, but she felt now was the time to accept the offer as Chief Operating Officer. 

Evan Beebe / WAER News

The City of Syracuse is focused on increasing the number of trees after suffering a substantial loss of coverage in the Labor Day Storm 20 years ago. The efforts continue to plant trees and get public input in the ReLeaf Syracuse effort to find out where in the city people would like them and also get a complimentary tree planted in their yards.


Brad Klein/WAER News

  The New York State Fairgrounds played host to the New York State Arms Collectors Association’s gun show over the weekend, which drew second amendment supporters and gun enthusiasts. The show has been in Syracuse since 1938. Well over 1,000 tables were set up for the buyers and sellers of the wide variety of guns, ammunition, knives, and more. One of the six directors of the show Doug Roberts says that although most of the transactions are business deals, many of them are historically driven.

 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Many are wondering just how many registered Democrats will actually go to the polls today to select the party's nominee for Governor, State Attorney General and for races closer to Central New York.  Thanks to recent intiatives, the turnout numbers could be higher than in the past.  Volunteers of two organizations have been giving millennials a nudge by sending out 200,000 texts asking if they can count on them to vote.  Common Cause of New York Executive Director Susan Lerner says although there’s a strong surge of interest and activism, people must actually vote.  She says the importance

Blackstone LaunchPad/ Syracuse University

Syracuse University is about to host a hackathon focused on helping people and communities leading up to, during and after natural disasters.  During the two day event which starts Friday, Hurrican Florence is expected to hit the Carolinas and Virginia. 


John Smith/WAER News

Students are Back to School this week in the Syracuse area.  For some, part of summer vacation was spent learning through activities that introduced them to new areas of study and career fields.  The Syracuse City School District has significantly expanded their career-focused education in P-TECH and C-TECH programs to engage students and held summer internships.  Meanwhile, a new charter school, OnTECH High School opened this week and is not career specific and allows students to determine their own interests.  WAER’s John Smith takes us on a journey through the programs and talks with edu

John Smith/WAER News

Democratic Congressional Candidate Dana Balter continues to make health care an issue in her race against Republican Congressman John Katko.


John Smith/WAER News

Beyond the glitzy lights of the State Fair’s Midway, there is an exhibit about bright beacons that guide boaters and commercial ships across the State.  The exhibit is called “A Path Through Maritime History: Lighthouses and Life Saving.”  New York Sea Grant Recreation Specialist Dave White says even the Statue of Liberty is a lighthouse.

“They’re a critical component of our maritime history and how we’ve grown as a country and being able to provide that opportunity to get folks safely in and out of our harbors.”

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