In October 2020, Hot Pie Media, an on-demand podcast network, launched in Austin, aiming to give local creatives a network of like minds and resources.
By Cy White, Photos courtesy of Hot Pie Media
In October 2020, Hot Pie Media, an on-demand audio and visual podcast network, launched. Among the notable team members, Chris Jagger (brother to Mick) and Sherry Daly (former manager of the Rolling Stones) support the team in the UK. Even more unique is that Hot Pie Media has a great number of women in leadership roles. Among these are Creative Director Kelly Lux-Walker and Director of Content Natalie Peyton. The two women shared what Hot Pie Media means to them and what they’re most anticipating from the platform in the future.
Kelly Lux-Walker (left), Creative Director
My name is Kelly Lux-Walker and I’m the Creative Director of Hot Pie Media. I’m the proud mother of two engineers (son and daughter), a Navy brat born in San Diego but have lived everyplace from Hawaii to Rhode Island, Corpus Christi to Monterey Bay. My passions are my family, my husband, my three thoroughbred horses and, of course, Hot Pie Media!
Natalie Peyton, Director of Content
I’m Natalie Peyton; I’m the Director of Content at Hot Pie Media. For the past 12 years (2008-2020), I lived and worked in New York City as a comedian and actress. I graduated from NYU with a B.F.A. in Theatre and Film. I’ve acted in many commercials, television programs, and films, produced dozens of comedy sketches, and performed stand-up comedy since 2016.
In November 2019, my dad told me about the podcast network he co-founded called Hot Pie Media. He implored me to move back to Austin, where I was raised, so I could work with him and his partners to be a part of building the business. However, being the self-absorbed 29-year-old that I was, I felt that my New York life, living paycheck to paycheck, was far more important than my dad’s new media company.
In March 2020, I finally gave in to his encouraging request, and moved back to Austin. Not only was I missing my family. I was also intrigued with discovering what the podcast network was all about and how I would contribute.
My, how wrong my reluctance was! In the last two and half years I have grown exponentially both as a businesswoman and a person. As the first employee of this startup, I have lived and learned firsthand from the CEO and co-founder, Robert Walker, as though I’m getting my MBA through hands-on business administration. And from my father, John Peyton, the chief creative officer, on how to think creatively, work efficiently and sell effectively. I’m grateful every day for this opportunity. I’ve always had a savvy business mind, a hunger for creativity. So I couldn’t be in a better place than Hot Pie Media.
Can you each tell us what Hot Pie Media is (in your own words/interpretations)?
KLW: Hot Pie Media is an audio/video podcast network that focuses primarily on the creation and curation of original content. It’s also like a second family: our staff, hosts and partners are all very close to each other. This camaraderie is a cornerstone of the Hot Pie Media culture and anyone who visits our studio senses that.
NP: To me, Hot Pie Media is the door that opened that changed my life forever. It’s the opportunity I almost missed. Fear of the unknown could have prevented me from taking the plunge to change my career in my 30s. It’s the company that trusted and believed in me to create and curate new content while building our portfolio of shows.
What about Hot Pie Media makes it different than other on-demand digital media platforms?
KLW: Hot Pie’s uniqueness is the concierge-style, white-glove service we provide our podcasters. We handle all the “chores” of podcast production. This, in turn, allows our hosts to focus on what they do best: be creative. Technically, anyone with a laptop can create a podcast. But producing a show that will attract a large audience requires a constant level of high-quality production on a daily basis as well as a strong promotional, marketing and social media presence. And, let’s not forget administrative support. These are the functions we specialize in.
NP: I’m proud to be a part of Hot Pie Media because of its inclusiveness toward all types of people, movements and beliefs. Our mission is to let the creators and podcast hosts do what they do best – CREATE. So that we can do what we do best – produce, distribute, promote, and monetize. Hot Pie Media stands apart from other podcast networks because of our method of producing quality content over quantity. We’re also unique in that we have a vast archive of music shows that were recorded over the past 20 years.
There are several women in leadership positions in the company. Even in 2021, that’s not the norm. What do you believe needs to happen to ensure that more women have the opportunity to hold significant upper-level positions in media?
KLW: Women in leadership positions need to be willing to share their “tricks of the trade” with the entry-level women coming into our industry. We should also encourage them to not be afraid to make bold moves that may take them outside of their comfort zone. Be their mentors. Encourage them, not discourage them. Success is not a straight line. You learn so much from accomplishing difficult tasks that challenge your level of expertise.
NP: The first thing that needs to happen is women need to believe in themselves. Too often, in my experience, women don’t learn the necessary skills or steps it takes to operate and manage an organization. I didn’t know exactly what I was doing when I first started. Though I did know how to follow instructions and have an open mind to learn. I have sharp instincts coming from the world of television, film and production. So I applied those abilities in conjunction with a “can do” attitude.
I worked late nights and consumed myself in the growth of Hot Pie Media. Though I missed out on a social life for about a year and a half, I can look at what we’ve built, and be proud as a senior level executive. I didn’t start at the top, I worked 12-14 hours, Monday-Friday and 6-8 hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays. I earned my position at the top.
What are each of you most excited about as far as content in the near future?
KLW: I would have to say comedy. More than ever, people are wanting to escape to light-hearted content. Hot Pie Media is also working on some exciting major deals related to the music industry. With Chris Jagger (Mick’s brother) and Sherry Daly (longtime former manager of The Rolling Stones) as partners, it’s a natural direction for us to go. Stay tuned.
NP: In addition to my excitement about being a part of Winey Girlz with Kelly Lux-Walker and Hot Pie’s advisor, Heather Baumli, I’m thrilled to head up and launch Hot Pie Media’s Children’s Content Division. The newest edition to the Children’s Division of Hot Pie Media is called Snoriezzz. A children’s bedtime podcast hosted by the Snory Godmothers, myself and my aunt, Academy Award-winning actress, Marcia Gay Harden. This is not only the first of our children’s production but also the first scripted content in the Hot Pie Media portfolio. The concept of Snoriezzz came from the desire to re-spark children’s imaginations and to engage them beyond mindless children’s shows. What better way to do that than through a podcast?
What has been the most rewarding aspect of this endeavor? The most challenging aspect?
KLW: The most rewarding aspect is witnessing the creativity of our podcast hosts who provide us with memorable, emotional moments on a daily basis. I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the caliber and variety of guests that are being booked on our shows. From rock stars to movie stars; top level athletes, executives and other professionals. The most challenging aspect is not having enough hours in the day to accomplish all that I would like to.
NP: The most rewarding aspect of this endeavor is the managerial responsibility I’ve been given. It’s an honor to work with each and every one of our hosts, team members and partners. And it’s a joy to see the loyalty of those with whom we work. Though my main job is content development at Hot Pie Media, it’s no secret that as a small company, we wear many hats. One minute I’m onboarding a new show. The next minute I’m scheduling a production. And the next I’m communicating with hosts, guests and partners, selling a sponsorship package for a show and hosting and producing two podcasts. Not one day at work looks the same. Our collaborative team does what needs to be done to keep Hot Pie Media growing.
The most obvious and challenging aspect of this endeavor is the fact that startups aren’t easy…if they were, everybody would start a company. To see Hot Pie Media’s growth from inception is a reward.
Can you give us any hints or Easter eggs about what’s coming up for Hot Pie Media’s future?
KLW: Look for more live streaming events in Hot Pie’s future.
NP: For a look into Hot Pie Media’s future, our listeners can anticipate more live streaming podcasts and concerts.
How can other content creators be a part of Hot Pie Media’s growth?
KLW: Hot Pie Media is always looking for the next uniquely creative idea. We embrace new concepts and love cleverness. We’re just an email away.
NP: If a content creator has a unique, compelling and entertaining podcast idea, I welcome demo reels, previous works, bio/resumes and treatments. Hot Pie Media is not only known for creating podcasts but also curating content that we believe is worthy of an audience. If aspiring hosts have podcast experience, social media presence, and influencer metrics that’s always a plus. Interestingly, there’s a lot of quality shows out there that haven’t reached their full potential and would benefit from being a part of a network.
Any final thoughts?
KLW: The podcast industry is an exciting space to be in right now. It’s still in its infancy and fluid where the rules of the game are still being written. The sky is the limit for anyone with a better concept.
NP: I want to take the time to acknowledge and highlight the other two women who are important ingredients to The Pie and work alongside me and Kelly.
Emily Hyatt, media and guest relations, said, “As a young woman fresh out of college, finding a job within my field was daunting to say the least. Working at a company that amplifies strong women like Deb O’Keefe, Amy Edwards, Antoinette Villarreal, Ash Mishal and Pat Pearson, MSSW exemplifies the fact that women need to be heard. Whether in front of the mic or behind the scenes.”
Alyssa Duke, producer and editor, said, “Being that 50% of Hot Pie Media’s podcasts’ hosts are female, I have found that as a woman in production and editing, I am able to provide them with a greater level of comfort and trust.”
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