Features: What’s Your Carpool Karaoke?

Features: What’s Your Carpool Karaoke?

by Tracy Johnson

James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke is a feature on his television talk show. You may not know the name of his show (The Late Late Show).

You may have never heard of Corden if it weren’t for his signature feature. It’s a mini-brand that’s taken on a life of it’s own. It’s become so popular that Apple bought it and has released it as a series on iTunes.

Carpool Karaoke is a great feature. But what does that mean for you and your radio show or your radio station?

And how can you find something that can be your Carpool Karaoke?

When constructing a new show, features can make up most of the content. It’s a great way to become familiar and it gives talent a platform to show character so the audience can get to know you.

Features add structure that helps listeners know how to use your show. This helps with consistency while the show develops a relationship with the audience.

Features are a critical tool for air talent, if you choose the right ones and know how to use them.

Features On Your Show

Most shows have at least a couple of features. Do you perform Hollywood News daily? That’s a feature. Or perhaps you have a weekly feature that’s performed on a certain day, like Talk Back Tuesday.

The ability to use features as a tool to entertain is a skill shared by great personalities. We’ve seen dozens of focus groups where listeners get excited when asked about a popular feature.

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In dial tests, the audience often responds immediately when the feature comes on. They recognize it, look forward to it and react even before the content begins. They know it’s something they like and expect something good is about to happen.

See the response in this chart? The green line represents those familiar with the show. The positive line rockets to the top as soon as the introduction comes on. That’s a sign of a strong brand.


Dial research results provided by Strategic Solutions Research.

With few exceptions, every show needs features. The question is, how many?

How Many Features Do You Need?

As with most things, the answer to this question varies. There’s no single right or wrong answer.

We’ve had clients that rocket to #1 on the strength of one great feature. It’s the concept of The One Thing.


Now that one feature won’t be the ONLY thing you do any more than James Corden only does Carpool Karaoke. Yet, a single-minded focus to make one feature famous will improve your odds of success.

It’s not about how many, but how strong. We hear show after show that have a lot going on, but nothing has a chance to stick.

So don’t worry about how many features you’ll have. Focus on developing one great one. When it’s established, consider another.

How to Create a Feature

The best way to find a feature for your show is to start with the vision for your brand. Is it to probe relationship issues? Are you experts on pop culture? Start there.

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Then, identify your character traits. Are you funny? Edgy? Sentimental? Sincere? Patriotic? These traits factor into possible feature solutions.

Now match your personality to a feature. For example, if you’re all about pop culture, don’t do Hollywood News once or twice a morning. Do it every hour, and build in teases and mini-features in other parts of the hour.

If your character is edgy and always taking risks, prank calls may be right for you.

Love stories about relationships? Second Date Update or Love em Or Leave em may be a fit.

Where to Find Feature Ideas

Check out the library of features here for ideas (membership required).

Each has execution details and many have audio examples to help you. You’ll also find features sorted by category such as music, relationships, kids, etc.

And, check out or Top 10 recommended features. You might find your Carpool Karaoke.

Author: Tracy Johnson

Tracy Johnson specializes in radio talent coaching, radio consulting for programming and promotions and developing digital strategies for brands.

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