Creating FOMO


(By Mike McVay) FOMO; Fear of Missing Out. We all strive to create day-to-day listening. The way to build such habitual listening is by creating the fear that you will miss something if you don’t listen. The benefit is that daily tune-in builds ratings and develops listener loyalty. The concept is another that is easier said than done. It becomes more difficult if the talent has few windows within a show to create and deliver such content. Although it isn’t impossible regardless of the origination of the show being local or not, live or not.

It starts with finding unique content and material that is specifically interesting to your audience. That means that the personalities understanding of who their audience is, what the audience expects from the show, and what the show stands for, is to be known and never forgotten. Much like the scene from the movie Bull Durham, where Kevin Costner’s character delivers the “I believe” speech to characters played by Susan Sarandon and Timothy Robbins. Costner, in the role of Crash Davis, professes his deep beliefs in a passionate speech to the two. That belief didn’t start with Costner’s character sitting down with his show prep sheet the night before. It began with an acknowledgment of what’s important to him and his audience and how it interfaces with those around him.

Admittedly, he had Hollywood script writers. If you know what your credo is, and you have the ability to be genuine, you then have the launching pad to be topical and entertaining. You are set-up to take the hottest topics and present them uniquely.

Identify what the hottest story is for the day. Consider how your audience feels about that story. Then think about what your take might be. If you can hit a chord with your audience, they will talk to their friends and associates about what they heard on your show, and that word of mouth creates the fear of missing out. There is a hot story every day. Your take on these stories is what develops daily tune-in.

It might be a hot story, like the one that popped up a couple days ago, with your talent developing it into a political Cage Match. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are at odds. President Biden referred to Putin as a “killer.” Putin fired back with rhetoric that smacked of a child on a playground and he challenged Biden to a debate. What twist can your show put on that story? How can you make it even more interesting or entertaining? Do you address it as a produced skit, a conversation between you and your show team members, or you present a monologue about the incident in your own style? There are many directions this particular content can go, and the payoff to the break, is where your air talent’s personality will come through.

Creating FOMO regularly can make your show a destination. A place that you visit because of the expectations you have of the show. The minute I heard that story I made a calendar note to watch Saturday Night Live to hear their spin on that news. I knew that either Colin Jost or Michael Che would present the story on SNL News, or the cast would create a skit about the incident, maybe both. I was excited to catch their take on the topic.

Then I found out that SNL isn’t returning live until the next weekend.

Mike McVay is President of McVay Media and can be reached at  [email protected]


  1. This is all good stuff, Mike, and something that needs to be discussed constantly -because there are like a million distractions in the world. However I just read that one major company is investing in a new facility that incorporates its “new technology, AI and Cloud content”. Doesn’t look like they’re investing much in talent.

  2. In tomorrow’s post, Mike will say “don’t talk about politics because it will alienate half of your audience” and “be the destination of stress-free content”. But, for today…. Biden VS Putin.


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