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

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. 


John Smith/WAER News

The MOST is about to allow visitors to get inside their own heads by examining how the brain functions and the many neurological disorders and diseases being treated locally.  BRAIN: The World Inside Your Head will open in September. 


John Smith/WAER News

Senator Chuck Schumer says industrial hemp growers and processors in New York need easy access to capital to help them thrive to potentially create thousands of jobs in Central New York.  He visited a 100 acre hemp farm in Cortlandville today. 


American Heart Association

The American Heart Association in Syracuse is raising awareness in the first week of June on how residents can prepare themselves during National CPR and AED Awareness week. Data shows that only about 37 percent of bystanders currently aid to help someone they don’t know suffering a heart attack. 


John Smith/WAER News

A giant animated dragonfly was still waiting for its wings to be attached earlier Monday at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo… but soon they’ll be flapping  as part of a new animated display.  “Big Bugs” will feature seven colorful, larger-than-life insects ranging from a ladybug, a red-tailed bumblebee to a three-clawed spider, web included. 


Ursula Rozum / Physicians for National Health Program

Many Central New Yorkers who just travelled to Albany for Senate hearings on the New York Health Act are keeping the conversation going with a Healthcare Stories Forum in Syracuse Thursday night.  “Guaranteed Healthcare for All and the Fight for Equity” is about advocating to expand healthcare insurance to reach marginalized communities who have difficulty getting access. 


John Smith/WAER News

Case of sexually transmitted disease spiked in the state in recent years, and ACR Health in Syracuse is now expanding testing options to find STD's that might have gone undetected in the past. 


John Smith / WAER News

More than 160 locally owned business enterprises introduced themselves Tuesday to many departments within Syracuse University who could potentially buy their goods or services in the future. 


Wikimedia Commons

The Secretary of the Veterans Administration says Central New York Veterans will receive even more care options when the MISSION Act goes into effect next month. 

In an interview with WAER’s John Smith, Robert Wilkie says there will be new access and availability standards for healthcare implemented both here and across the country.  Wilkie applauds the quality of care at the Syracuse VA and the commitment of Syracuse University to serve veterans and their families.


John Smith/WAER News

The film about a 1950’s world boxing champion from Canastota will be shot in Syracuse this summer.  “Basilio” will capture the life of Carmen Basilio who is also nicknamed the "Upstate Onion Farmer" and will be shot from August to September.  Syracuse University Professor of Film and the film’s Director Owen Shapiro says local talent will be heavily involved behind the scenes.

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