Alumni Spotlight: Stephen Vanyo (2017)

May 30th, 2023 by Charlie Wahlberg

Stephen Vanyo, a Loyola class of 2017 graduate, discusses his career as an entertainment, sports, and media attorney, and how the knowledge he gained from WLOY not only solidified a career path for him but prepared him for it as well.

Q: Can you tell us about your show at WLOY? (name and theme, genre of music) 

A: Indie-anna Jones and the Underground Temple. It featured DIY artists and other independent rock music. My show focused on independent artists that were not getting the attention they deserved both locally and nationally, but I mainly focused on Baltimore and the North East. 

Q: What was your show’s top-played artist?

A: Turnstile, who has since been nominated for a Grammy, and Wild Honey, a Baltimore band. I also played some music from Pianos Become The Teeth, and Free Throw.

Q: And your current favorite artist?

A: I don’t have one currently, but my all-time favorite would have to be Blink 182. 

Q: How do your experiences from being at the station help you today?

A: I am an entertainment sports and media attorney, so I work in music law. We represent athletes, celebrities, and entertainers, along with record labels, producers of instrumentals, music producers, authors, scriptwriters, actors, film directors, and more. I am also a registered NFL agent. 

My experiences at WLOY helped in a few ways. I think that an important part of my job is talent discovery, and I did a lot of that at WLOY. There was already a market for stations playing the current top 40, our job as a college radio station was to act as a sort of music discovery. Part of what I had to do was foster a connection to the bands I found, and now as an NFL agent and Entertainment Lawyer, I’m always looking for talent on the rise. It is very important to know about what is going on in the market and the scene around you so that you can best advocate for your client, so I think that keeping up with the scene and keeping up with what music was going well really impacted my career then.

I also learned about the legalities of it all. John talked to us a lot about copyright and proper payment of royalties, which helped solidify my interest in music and entertainment law after college.

Q: Tell us about your favorite WLOY memory.

A: Because the window was right there, and the music played outside, my favorite memory was recording on Tuesday nights and seeing students walk by and nod their heads along to the music, or whenever somebody told me that they listened to the show or heard it playing on campus. I felt like that was my goal- to shed light on those bands that deserved a lot of ears. One specific example would be the Christmas Parade, I loved decorating, the van, attending the event, and really the experience as a whole. 

Q: What is one piece of insight/advice you have for current Loyola students involved at WLOY?

A: The simple answer would be to put yourself out there and remain true to who you are. People can sniff through when you’re not being authentic, and authenticity will get you a lot farther than trying to be the type of person that you think someone wants. Secondly, putting yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to shoot your shot, that’s the way I always did it, I didn’t have any business asking some of the bands I did for interviews or asking for press passes from Ram’s Head Live or other big venues, but we got them just because we put ourselves out there, and because I was polite but persistent in getting those opportunities. 

One more piece of advice that I have is keeping up with the industry, trends, and knowing what is going on will serve you well. Knowing and understanding the business behind certain things is important. Whenever I’m watching a TV show, I think about the business aspect of things, and that’s when I begin to notice that not everything in shows and music is just for artistic integrity, but also for the advertising and marketability of that show or song. Keeping up with the why of why things are done is super important rather than just the reaction outside of it. There’s no cost to going online and staying up to date with the industry, and knowing the why, not just the how. 

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