GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Thursday was a tough day on the air for staff members at WNAA (90.1 FM) The Voice – North Carolina A&T State University’s radio station.
Wednesday, long-time operations manager, music director, and program director Deirdre Cherie “D Cherie” Lofton was found dead in her home after she didn’t show up for work.
According to our news gathering partners at the Greensboro News & Record, police said there were no signs of foul play. Lofton was 46 years old.
“It’s just surreal. We can’t believe it,” WNAA office manager Ezinma Murphy said.
Murphy remembers Lofton as more than a colleague, but as her friend of at least 10 years.
She says the radio manager brought a passion to the station daily.
“Her life was radio. Radio meant everything to her,” Murphy said.
News of Lofton’s passing quickly spread to fellow colleagues in the business.
Thursday, 97.1 QMG broadcaster Renee Vaughn paid tribute to Lofton during her time slot.
“D Cherie, we love you. We will certainly miss you,” Vaughn told listeners.
Vaughn and Lofton worked together in Fayetteville at FOXY99 WZFX.
The two were roommates for a little more than a year.
Vaughn shared what she will miss most about Lofton.
“I think overall just her personality, just her warmth, her smile,” Vaughn said.
Lofton was also known for being a mentor not only to people working professionally in radio, but also students.
“I think that’s what’s going to be difficult the most is that when you think about incoming students who likely have heard about her by word of mouth and unfortunately won’t get the opportunity to work with her,” Vaughn said.
North Carolina A&T senior Jovan Hubbard credits Lofton for launching the sports radio show that he hosts with two colleagues.
“We didn’t know how we were going to do it. She trusted us enough to even try to get in there and saw the success in us before we saw it in ourselves,” he said.
Thursday, the music played on - friends knowing that’s what Lofton would have wanted.
“Know that when you listen to the station, you hear a part of D Cherie,” Murphy said.
Lofton spent nearly 20 years at WNAA – first starting as a volunteer when she was a student at Bennett College and eventually returning to the station in a managerial role.
Friday, WNAA will have live DJs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. for a tribute celebration called “Turn up for D Cherie.”
The public is invited to call in during the celebration on the request line at (336) 334-7952.