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

City of Syracuse

Syracuse city officials say nearly 160 white-tailed deer were culled in Syracuse’s first effort to reduce an overpopulation that is causing several issues in city neighborhoods.  The suggested target areas came from recommendations made by the volunteer Tick and Deer Management Group that also held public meetings to collect input. 

Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse University is moving ahead with plans to hold most classes in person in what will be a condensed fall semester.  Interim Deputy Senior VP Amanda Nicholson says they’re trying to keep the college experience alive for students, even if it’s not quite the same.

Justin Sayles / Onondaga County

The amount of COVID-19 cases in Onondaga County surpassed 1,000 cases over the weekend to 1,047 cases… that’s an increase of 53 cases over Saturday.  Two more people have died, bringing the total number of local deaths to the virus to 36.  The latest victims are a white elderly male in his 90’s and an African American woman in her 60’s.  Both had underlying health conditions.  County Executive Ryan McMahon sent out condolences.  He also gave a snapshot of how many people are in the hospital.

YWCA website

The Syracuse Chapter of the YWCA is getting plenty of social media responses from individuals and businesses alike participating virtually during the "Stand Against Racism Week."  The Executive Director believes the conversation is as important now... more than ever.

wikimedia commons

A Cornell University migration and human rights law professor says it appears that President Trump’s intention to more severely restrict immigration to the US is not based on public health or even economic concerns due to COVID-19.  


It's the kind of news Ryan McMahon hopes he never has to deliver but, another person died from compliciations of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.  Sunday marked the second day in a row that McMahon had to send out condolences.

"She was in her 60's.  She had underlying health issues.  And our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family and we grieve as a community for her and everyone else we've lost in this process."

American Heart Association of Greater Syracuse

Central New Yorkers having health issues not related to COVID-19 may find it difficult to visit emergency rooms, worried about the strain on the health care system. 

John Smith / WAER News

The President and CEO of Helio Health says the way of life has been altered in Central New York by COVID-19 is difficult for people in general, let alone a drug user.  Jeremy Klemanski says the substance abuse support organization is processing more initial screenings of new clients and follow-ups through technology. 


A local doctor of Internal Medicine at the VA has partnered with a division of JMA Wireless in Liverpool to create ventilators.  The intention is have a safety, if the national ventilator supplies are depleted by COVID-19.  Just a few weeks ago Dr. John Callahan thought about creating a device that could mimic the functionality of pricey ventilators in conjunction with existing medical supplies that hospitals have on hand. 

John Smith / WAER News

Ryan McMahon approached the Easter Weekend COVID-19 update with a concern that families may be gathering at a time when cases are rising and the need for social distancing is still high. 

"We're worried about today, tomorrow.  Stay safe, we know you're the safest with the people you live with.  Celebrate the holiday with your immediate family and really assess if you need to get the broader family together."