The Opportunity

In 2018, Jay Famiglietti received the Canada 150 research chair in hydrology and remote sensing, and became executive director of the Global Institute for Water Security (GIWS). The GIWS has been around since 2011. It wanted to increase its awareness both within the University of Saskatchewan and externally as leaders in water policy and research. It also wanted to increase the profile of its new executive director.

Our Approach

We knew Jay Famiglietti had strong public communications skills and had been a frequent media contributor. So, we built a podcast around him, placing him as the host. The podcast would also later become the centrepiece for all marketing efforts from the GIWS.

What we did

  • We created and launched a podcast with season one of Let’s Talk About Water launching in 2019 (we changed the name to What About Water? With Jay Famiglietti in 2021).
  • We’ve completed four seasons of the podcast and featured guests from around the world.
  • We published digital custom content on The Walrus website, featuring a Q&A with Famiglietti.
  • In 2022, we hosted The Walrus Leadership Dinner on groundwater, featuring key stakeholders, leaders, and experts in Ottawa.
  • All of this increased Famiglietti visibility of as executive director.

  • Results

  • 4.7 out of 5 rating on Apple Podcasts
  • Top 10% of all podcasts for downloads
  • Average consumption rate for episodes is 70.5%
  • 60% increase of subscribers on Apple podcasts from Season 3 to Season 4
  • Ranked in Top 10 of Earth Science podcasts in Canada and the U.S., according to Chartable
  • Season 4 concluded in March 2023. Plans underway for Season 5
  • Featured guests from around the world
  • Each season has increased participation from Indigenous and BIPOC experts in the field of climate science
  • Podcast is key feature of GIWS marketing tools
  • Host Jay Famiglieti makes regular appearances on other climate-change-related podcasts
  • Awards: 2021 winner of Water Canada Water’s Next Award
  • Increased brand awareness:
  •      Increased visibility of Executive Director Jay Famiglieti
  •      Identified as “Host of What About Water? With Jay Famiglieti” in public appearances
  •      Connections with worldwide water science community by providing guest opportunities on podcast
  •      Published Q&A with Jay Famiglieti on The Walrus website in 2021
  •      Included in the SEJ Podcast Library (featuring informative and interesting podcasts by SEJ members and other journalists, and science professionals)

  • The Walrus Lab