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

We recently gave you a look into how some Syracuse City Schools are implementing non-traditional programming after they were flagged for low performance by the state.  Now, we are taking a closer look at two alternative, private schools with unique curriculums.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

A Central New York Congressmember says a lack of response by the International Joint Commission about recent Lake Ontario flooding events is why he’s launched an online letter writing campaign. Anthony Brindisi represents eastern portions of Oswego County and plans to write weekly. 

John Smith / WAER News

You might be seeing reminders in hot pink this month in Syracuse that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.   Today a portion of sidewalk outside the Civic Center on Montgomery Street was spray painted with a Pink Ribbon. 

Rep. Katko Says More Facts are Needed Before Trump Impeachment Proceeds

Oct 1, 2019

Central New York Republican Congressmember John Katko thinks Democrats on Capitol Hill are rushing to judgement about President Trump’s Ukrainian phone call.

John Smith / WAER-FM 88.3

Suicide Crisis Centers in Central New York and across the nation could get a boost in federal funding under bi-partisan legislation introduced by Congressmember John Katko.   This bill would expand the services available to those in crisis by allowing more robust staffing of the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The Saint Agatha Foundation has raised more than $11 million dollars in 15 years to help Central New Yorkers dealing with the financial hardships of breast cancer.  Manlius native Laurie Mezzalingua created the foundation, before losing her own battle just five years later.  Her mother, Kathleen continues her daughter’s mission.

“Friends that she was associating and had families to support, and second incomes that they were concerned about.  She just said we need to help these women.  Labeled it, ‘who could not afford their disease.'”

John Nuttall / Flickr Creative Commons

On the heels of last week’s Climate Change Strike, the Cuomo Administration is furthering the discussion by announcing partnerships with two foreign countries with expertise in improving energy infrastructure. The goal is to improve technologies to create a stronger electric grid and to introduce additional renwable energy sources.

John Smith / WAER-FM 88.3

Hundreds of concerned Central New Yorkers crowded into Forman Park Friday to join in the global Climate Strike.  Similar events were held in other U.S cities like Chicago and New York City, as well as across the world in France, Germany, Pakistan, and Thailand.  The strikes were primarily led by high school and college students.  Syracuse University student Jett Jonelis highlighted the destruction and loss of human life caused by climate change.

John Smith / WAER-FM 88.3

It was February 4th, 2018, when then-Syracuse Police Sgt. James Milana pulled up on the scene of a man wielding a gun on South Salina Street near West Calthrop Avenue.  Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul picks up the story…

John Smith/WAER News

SU Alumni weekend known as Orange Central also means a chance for students to meet successful alumni and get some inspiration and make connections.  Kevin Belbey earned a Broadcast and Digital Journalism Degree in 2013 from the Newhouse School of Public Communications and a Masters degree in 2016 from the SU School of Law.  Belbey currently serves as an agent for a broadcast sports talent agency, the Montag Group in New York City.