Lightly coating rice with butter or oil before adding the broth prevents the grains from sticking together. Less liquid is used during slow cooking because it doesn't evaporate as quickly as when cooking rice on the stovetop.
Stir together first 3 ingredients in a lightly greased 3-qt. slow cooker, stirring until rice is coated. Stir in chicken broth, onion, and pepper.
Cover and cook on HIGH 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until rice is tender. Stir in cherries with a fork; turn off heat, cover, and let stand 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat pecans in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Stir into rice with a fork just before serving.