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RIP  Cherie - The Oldies Sweetheart of New Orleans
(Cherie Vitrano Smith  12/29/47 - 6/13/17)

June 26, 2017

by Rollye James
Claude Hall

Bob Walker:  “Thanks for the mention of my new YatRadio.com.  It plays great “timeless” hits
sprinkled with New Orleans songs 24/7.  But the major feature is the New Orleans Oldies
hours, with different shows 4x a day which play nothing but vintage New Orleans radio hits
from the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s.  They are “aired” at 12 Noon, 3, 6 & 9 pm Central.  Trying to keep
those classic hits alive.

“On a sad note, last week on June 13 we lost Cherie Vitrano SmithCherie The Oldies
Sweetheart” who passed away peacefully in her sleep.  She was 69 and in perfect health.
Cherie began the oldies frenzy in New Orleans in the late 70’s on the WNOE-FM Hall of Fame
on Sunday nights with Russ Boney, under P.D. Bobby Reno.  Later she continued the legend
of Poppa Stoppa on WYAT-AM and thru the 90’s on WTKL “KOOL 95.7”  Her nighttime
Backseat Memories show was thru the roof.  We come, we do, we go … She did well.”

Rollye:  “I am crestfallen to hear about Cherie’s passing, but glad it was quick and painless for
her.  I don’t know any oldies fan who even passed through New Orleans from the late 70s
through the 90s who doesn’t have something good to say about Cherie.  I will forever associate
her with bringing Big Joe’s “Ice Man” back to life.  Bob Walker, as you may know, is behind
the New Orleans Radio Shrine, which will keep you spellbound for hours.  YatRadio.com is
also a lot of fun. I was immediately taken with the ads for The Max, a dance club in Metairie,
because it’s open 24 hours a day.  The thought reminded me of the Northern Soul all-nighters
at The Casino Club in Wigan (UK) during the ‘70s.

“It was great to hear from Jeffrey Leonard, though I almost missed his message (and the great
pictures you’re about to see).  There is a Facebook public person page for me, but truth be
known, I don’t access it.  My thanks to my husband who trolls the internet and swiftly
uncovered Jeff’s note.  If you want to reach me, info@voxjox.org is your best bet.  I’d love to
hear from you.  Here’s the latest from the L.A. Radio Reunion Luncheon:”
Jeffrey Leonard:  “Sorry it has taken so long to get in touch with you regarding our June 10th
L.A. radio reunion luncheon in Burbank. Once again it was a huge success. We had our usual
crowd of 50 to 60 people. Always lots of fun stories. They seem to get bigger and better as the
years pass, but isn't embellishing what it's all about? Sure wish you could join us one of these
times. Here are some photos that you can use... “

Mike Carlucci, Jim Carson, Dan Feely, Bruce Chandler

Last KHJ PD before they went country, Chuck Martin

  Jane Platt, Mike Sakellarides, Ken Jeffries, Randy Kerdoon

Jim Pewter & the force behind the L.A. Radio Reunion lunches,  Jeffrey Leonard

Radio & Records co-founder Bob Wilson

Rollye:   “I was definitely there in spirit, and if things work out, one of these years I’ll take Jeff
up on his kind invite and be there in person. --More good news from L.A. Radio from Timmy:”

Timmy Manocheo:  “Roger Carroll is on the air!  His streaming website is just starting up.  ~

Rollye:  “At this point, it looks like Roger’s site is a page designed as a link to a stream of his
audio archives.  Hopefully he’ll get around to posting his associated memorabilia.  Meanwhile,
I’m listening to Roger on AFRTS as  I type.  Speaking of international radio funded by the
government, did you know that Voice of America does entertainment features, in multiple
languages, on a variety of people who aren’t necessarily household names?  Don Graham
recently forwarded a few links on Deborah Silver and her latest CD, “The Gold Standards..”

Can’t see it?  Click here. 

Rollye: “Here’s a link to the same piece  in Indonesian.  And just in case you understand
Indonesian, here’s Ian Umar’s Trending Topic show on Deborah. 

Bob Sherwood:  “Nice job, DG !  Boy, there oughta’ be a Music Industry Promotion Person
Hall of Fame and you’d surely go in the initial Class---along with Popovich, Al Coury, Neil
Bogart, Bud O’Shea and maybe a couple more.   Kinda’ like the first class in the Rock ‘n Roll
Hall of Fame---when it still meant something.  Ray Charles, Jerry Lee, Elvis, Little
Richard, James Brown et al…..Giants all!”

Peter McLane:  “Where to order the book Claude referred to?  Hitbound.  Rollye, also saw
more of your great work in Sounds in the Dark. Good stuff.” 

Rollye: “I forwarded Peter’s email to Claude Hall. Hopefully he’ll have details on when
Hitbound will be released.  I know Dr. Bob Weisbuch’s been working on it for quite a while.  I
believe Claude is reading a proof copy.  I will keep you posted.  Glad Peter mentioned Sounds
in the Dark (click on it for a good price from Amazon).  That, and other titles by Michael C.
Keith should be on our reading list to the left.  Now it is.    To see what else he’s written, check

“Many of you will remember Steve Bryant from his years as the star of QVC.  Unlike today’s
hawkers, Steve was funny, and ever willing, no matter what the product or how he had to pitch
it.  I’m not sure if he ever caught any of the guests on fire (or himself, for that matter), but it
wouldn’t surprise me to know he did.  After QVC, Steve embarked on a talk radio career until
the instability and insanity of that hit home.  Since then he’s pursued something even more
implausible:  song writing.  His parodies have been great elements for talk radio over the years,
but when I heard “An Older Wiser Kind Of Guy” I knew I just had to play it on our
country-based music station.  Since then, it’s gotten requests.  Just got a note from Steve that a
major name is considering recording it.   For an artist, these lyrics require some bravery and
the ability to laugh at oneself— hopefully all the way to the bank”

Can’t hear it?  Click here.
Warren Cosford: “Back in The Day" at 1050 chum as CFTR was breathing down our neck, we
were looking for every advantage possible.  J. Robert Wood always seemed to be bringing in
one new Audio Device or another.  Lubo would go to The Transmitter, and Bob would park his
'67 Ford with me in my '67 Marlin in a parking lot beside a pay phone on Bayview as Lubo
fiddled away.  We kept our cars as long as we did, essentially, because of the Radios.  In 1977
when I became FM PD, I still kept the Marlin just in case.”

Rollye:  “Warren was punctuating various stats on the latest technological gimmick (or is it?
--today's gimick is tomorrow's  'can't live without it'):  smart speakers.   There's an upcoming
webinar on these marvels that he forwarded.  (It’s this Wednesday 2 PM EDT.  Click here for
details.)   Coincidentally, I was discussing smart speakers with a listener recently, who told me
that he wasn’t worried about privacy since his device only ‘listened’ when he said “Alexa”.  I
was derailed by the logic, and started to marvel over what went wrong in American education.

“Instead, I asked how a device could recognize any word, in this case “Alexa”, if it wasn’t
already monitoring nearby speech.  Fortunately most people understand how these units work.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to faze many of them.  Even learning that an Amazon Echo (the
device that answers to “Alexa”) was subpoenaed in a murder last year doesn’t seem
problematic.  (We will not know how the courts would have ruled— Amazon appropriately
contested, but before the matter was heard, the person of interest voluntarily gave permission
for the Echo in question to be examined.)

“The upcoming webinar will focus on the results of a study conducted by Edison Research and
NPR.  At this point only 7% of Americans have a smart speaker at home.   (Users and the other
93% of us were surveyed.)  70% of smart speaker users claim to be listening to more audio at
home since getting a unit.  65% of smart speaker owners say they wouldn’t not want to return
to their pre-smart speaker life.   And 42% of owners have two or more smart speakers at home. 
TechCrunch shared a few more details here

“Amazon Echo (“Alexa”) is currently the market leader, but it’s not alone.  Apple is playing
catch up, which has a heavy dose of irony since it was Apple that debuted the voice controlled
assistant, “Siri” as part of the iPhone 4S in late 2011.  (Actually it first debuted a year earlier as
a third party app for iOS devices. The developers were planning on releases for Androids and
Blackberries, but Apple acquired the company, made the app proprietary and pulled it from the
app store.)   This month there’s a lot of online talk about the coming release of Apple’s
HomePod, which will have “Siri” directly compete with “Alexa”.  Google is also in the game.

“If you need a primer, here's a crash course on smart speakers from money.cnn.com.  It’s
clearly a work in progress on all fronts, as Amazon, Apple and Google compete in developing
better targeted answers (or any answers at all, depending on what is queried).  Google seems to
have the edge on general searches, but maybe not for long.  Third party involvement is
welcome (hence, the recent announcement that users can now access all the XM/Sirius
channels, particularly Howard Stern— read that here.  Come to think of it, if Amazon’s Echo
responds to the word “Alexa” anytime it ‘hears’ it, and if Howard’s listeners have an Echo
nearby, just think of the fun Howard could have by commanding devices across the country to
simultaneously turn on coffee makers, raise garage doors, and so much more).

“But I’m still stuck on buying something that brags about having a microphone so powerful
that it will easily pick up speech across a room. Particularly when there is no legal requirement
for a company to disclose what it is recording through a smart speaker, which is an interesting
notion in light of stats that showing that speakers are known to hear trigger words when none
are intended.  

“So what's the biggest driver of their popularity?   I’m sure the NPR/Edison study will have
some pointers on that, but near as I can see, it comes down to ease of use. You don’t have to
connect these things to a computer, activate an app or do anything but talk to the speaker and it
will respond.  That may send a chill down my spine, but if market share is any indicator,
apparently few share my concern.  Based on growth so far, it’s expected that the smart speaker
market will bring in $71 billion in 2018.

“Now it's your turn.  Tell me what's on your mind (info@voxjox.org will easily reach me), and
we'll share your thoughts next week. ”