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-FM 88.3

Students at New York Public Schools observed the anniversary of 9/11 under a new law Wednesday.  It requires a day of remembrance and a moment of silence on the anniversary of the attacks. Unlike any other time throughout the year, today may be equally important for the students and the teachers.

"Any moment where people are unified, and I can think people are unified, it helps me feel like I'm not alone."

Tuesday was back to school already for some school districts and a new state law allows districts to bring video evidence taken by digital cameras to the authorities when drivers pass a stopped school bus. Fayetteville Manlius has installed five additional cameras and a total of eight buses are now equipped with more likely on the way. Superintendent Craig Tice says the video evidence will hold drivers accountable. 

John Smith / WAER News

The final weekend of the State Fair is upon us and the specific days left will honor Native Americans, Latinos and raise awareness about substance abuse.  Friday is “Stomp Out Stigma Day” aimed to get family members and individuals support services to deal with addition to opioids and heroin.

John Smith / WAER News

We’re already at the halfway point of this year’s State Fair, and the attendance continues to grow.  Fair spokesperson Dave Bullard says they attribute that to major fair improvements to the tune of $120 million in recent years which allows people to sprawl out.

John Smith/WAER News

The New York State Fair is celebrating “Pride Day” with a parade that will span the midway to Chevy Court.  Organizers are hoping visitors will take part in the festivities in support of the LGBTQ community.  This year’s honored guest, Martin Boyce of New York City is sharing his experience at the Stonewall Riot which happened at a popular gay bar 50 years ago in 1969.  That’s where police raided the bar, but he says patrons fought back.

John Smith/WAER News

A long talked about need for a grocery store in Downtown Syracuse is about to go well beyond what a traditional store looks like and launch the careers of those who aspire to open a food related business.  The Allyn Family Foundation officially broke ground today on the 25 million dollar Salt City Market which is set to open by December 2020. 

Courtesy of the Syracuse Mets

Local High school and college students have been working away earning some extra money and gaining job skills with the Summer Youth Employment program.  The collaboration between the city and the county to gives students some valuable job experiences that will hopefully get them thinking about their career paths.  The program ended last Friday with a picnic near the Everson Museum.  Syracuse Mets General Manager Jason Smorol tried to instill in them the hard work and dedication that it takes to succeed in life.

John Smith / WAER News

An annual exhibition at the Everson Museum showcases works of art created by artists with disabilities from the Syracuse area and across Central New York.  UNIQUE is assembled after a panel of judges select the works that will be showcased. 

Karen Dewitt / WXXI News


It was an emotional day Wednesday as hundreds of childhood sexual abuse survivors filed lawsuits in New York courts on the start of a one year window of opportunity for victims to seek civil action against their abusers.


John Smith / WAER News

Onondaga County residents who are recovering from drug addiction often seek out a positive place of support in Syracuse to meet others who understand what they’re going through.  Helio Health cut the ribbon Wednesday on its renovated and expanded Recovery Center on Hickory Street.