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

Experts say the focus on advancing drone technologies in Central New York with millions of dollars committed by the state could transform the industry.  As local and Upstate companies are fine tuning the technologies, others are already claiming success by delivering more specialized services to customers. 

Newhouse School website.

A National Security Expert at Syracuse University has more than a few reservations about an abrupt change at the top of the federal Department of Homeland Security.  Bill Smullen is Director of National Security Studies in SU’s Maxwell School. 

John Smith / WAER News

Onondaga County Lawmakers are sharing their opinions before a key economic development vote next week by the Manlius Town Board that could threaten the preservation of a historic mansion.  County Executive Ryan McMahon says a developer wants a zone change to turn the Wellington House into a retail development, but he doesn’t support that.


S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Dean Lorraine Branham is being remembered for her accomplishments improving the college, as well as her role as a journalism pioneer. 


The familiar checkout question “paper or plastic?” will soon become “paper or reusable?” A ban on plastic grocery bags has been added to the finalized state budget. The ban, which would prohibit the use of most single-use plastics at the supermarket, has had a mixed reception.


Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner has made improving the relationship between police officers and the communities they serve a priority since he was sworn in nearly four months ago. But some community organizations are concerned there isn’t enough being done to earn the public’s trust. 

John Smith / WAER News

Onondaga Community College is about to be the first public institution in the nation roll out a new program next fall to give students some relief from the high cost of text books. 

John Smith / WAER News

A Vera House Program is helping bartenders and servers in Syracuse to spot domestic violence and abuse with the ‘Raise the Bar’ program.  The program has been in existence for about a year now. 

Physicians for Social Responsibility /

The Syracuse Peace Council is bringing a renowned speaker to ArtRage gallery Monday night who has spent more than 30 years campaigning for the global abolishment of nuclear weapons. Dr. Ira Helfand’s experience includes working at two Nobel Peace Prize winning organizations.  Monday evening, he’ll discuss what can be done to eliminate the ever-looming threat of nuclear warfare with countries such as North Korea and Russia.

Islamic Society of CNY Holds Vigil for New Zealand Victims

Mar 18, 2019
Kevin Fitzpatrick / WAER News

Following the tragedy in New Zealand last week, the Islamic Society of Greater Syracuse held a vigil at the Mosque to Jesus, Son of Mary over the weekend.  Words of comfort from seven local religious leaders were offered to members of the Syracuse community gathered at Masjid Isa Ibn Maryam on Saturday in remembrance of the 50 people who were killed attending Jummah in an attack by a white supremacist in Christchurch, New Zealand.