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Ear Hustle

Ear Hustle & Radiotopia

Ear Hustle is prison slang for eavesdropping, and that’s what listening to the show feels like: a raw, often funny, and always surprising peek into the reality of life inside prison.

Hosts Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods co-created the show that launched in 2017 while Earlonne was incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, where Nigel was a volunteer teaching photography. Since Earlonne’s release in 2018, the show has expanded to include stories from prisons across the state, including the California Institution for Women, as well as stories about getting out of prison and starting over, post-incarceration.

From finding romance, to grappling with a life sentence, to trying to parent via 15-minute phone calls, Ear Hustle stories deliver what This American Life host Ira Glass calls a “"very real” and “untragic” take on prison life.

Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a network of independent listener-supported podcasts. Discover audio with vision at radiotopia.fm and learn more about Ear Hustle at earhustlesq.com.

Ear Hustle is prison slang for eavesdropping, and that’s what listening to the show feels like: a raw, often funny, and always surprising peek into the reality of life inside prison.

Hosts Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods co-created the show that launched in 2017 while Earlonne was incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, where Nigel was a volunteer teaching photography. Since Earlonne’s release in 2018, the show has expanded to include stories from prisons across the state, including the California Institution for Women, as well as stories about getting out of prison and starting over, post-incarceration.

From finding romance, to grappling with a life sentence, to trying to parent via 15-minute phone calls, Ear Hustle stories deliver what This American Life host Ira Glass calls a “"very real” and “untragic” take on prison life.

Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, a network of independent listener-supported podcasts. Discover audio with vision at radiotopia.fm and learn more about Ear Hustle at earhustlesq.com.

84hr 23min
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Incarcerated people around the country answer listener questions about life in prison.
Thumbnail for "Ear Hustle Presents: The Moth".
A true story, told live.
Thumbnail for "Ear Hustle Presents: You Didn’t See Nothin".
A 1997 hate crime and its long aftermath.
Thumbnail for "Daughters".
Facing a long-term prison sentence … with your mom.
Thumbnail for "Crocasacks".
An OG Crip talks about leaving the life behind.
Thumbnail for "Moms".
Let’s give the moms their due.
Thumbnail for "Hope Lacquer".
Give the objects some respect.
Thumbnail for "Five Mirrors".
Nigel surprises Earlonne with a story about one of their long-time colleagues inside San Quentin.
Thumbnail for "What's Up, Michael Freeman? ".
Facing the end of life at a prison hospice.
Thumbnail for "A Rock Across a Lake".
The many things you long for from prison and the compromises you’re willing to make.
Thumbnail for "Ear Hustle Extra: A Sneak Peek at "Cellies, with Commentary"".
Nigel and Earlonne look back at their first episode.
Thumbnail for "Bunkies".
Ear Hustle turns 100!
Thumbnail for "Shine Some Light".
A violent crime and its aftermath.
Thumbnail for "That World ".
Five stories from the Central California Women’s Facility.
Thumbnail for "Do You Think There Are Ghosts Here?".
Three stories of the paranormal, from San Quentin and the California Institution for Women.
Thumbnail for "San Quentin: The Magazine ".
Five stories from our new producing team inside San Quentin
Thumbnail for "Transitional".
Where you live when you’re fresh out of prison.
Thumbnail for "Once You're in the Ocean, You're Going Everywhere".
Older residents at a women’s prison grapple with their regrets and dreams for the future.
Thumbnail for "12 Hours on the Yard ".
Sunup to sundown on San Quentin Prison’s lower yard.
Thumbnail for "Ear Hustle Presents: Violation".
While we're at work on Season 12, we bring you an episode from one of our favorite new shows.
Thumbnail for "Ear Hustle Extra: Pride Month Special".
Stories about LGBTQ life behind bars.
Thumbnail for "Articles of Hustle".
Is there such a thing as a prison uniform? An Ear Hustle collab explores.
Thumbnail for "The Preacher".
How can you tell if someone’s really changed?
Thumbnail for "Abundant and Passionate Trash".
The Ear Hustle Trash Challenge
Thumbnail for "Catch a Kite 8".
Residents of the California Institution for Women answer listeners’ questions about life inside a women’s prison.
Thumbnail for "Do You Know Who I Am?".
A new law shakes things up for trans men and trans women in prison.
Thumbnail for "Saber-Toothed Cat".
What 46 years in prison will do to a man.
Thumbnail for "OGs Got Hella Tricks".
Change is hard.
Thumbnail for "Dream On".
How does incarceration shape your dreams?
Thumbnail for "Ear Hustle Extra: Welcome Home, New York".
We meet Rahsaan “New York” Thomas at the gates of San Quentin.
Thumbnail for "Ear Hustle Extra: Sam Quentin".
Ear Hustle says goodbye to dear friend and “approver” extraordinaire, Lieutenant Sam Robinson.
Thumbnail for "Karen".
An interview takes an unexpected turn.
Thumbnail for "What’s Dangerous About Trees".
Ear Hustle goes inside Norway’s famed prisons.
Thumbnail for "Wishful Thinking".
The music episode is back!
Thumbnail for "Fences".
The architecture of prison shapes how you do your time.
Thumbnail for "Pockets".
Privacy is a glimmer of freedom.
Thumbnail for "Some Darkness and Some Light ".
Postcards from our first-ever international reporting trip.
Thumbnail for "Actual/Factual".
Lots of people lie about their crimes. Sam kept lying, for 23 years.
Thumbnail for "The Five Senses".
Life in prison sure can mess with your senses.
Thumbnail for "Ear Hustle Presents: Uncuffed".
From the show "Uncuffed": Two unexpected letters arrive at San Quentin.
Thumbnail for "Ear Hustle Presents: My Mother Made Me".
In My Mother Made Me, the new series from Radiotopia Presents, a mother and son consider what each has learned from the other.
Thumbnail for "Last Memory: Ryan and Earlonne".
From a booth at Applebee’s and the corner of Firmona and Marine Avenues in Lawndale, Ryan and Earlonne share memories of their final moments before heading to prison.
Thumbnail for "Last Memory: Michael".
Michael’s last memory before going to prison is set in a parking lot in Bakersfield, California.
Thumbnail for "Catch a Kite 7".
Incarcerated men are from Mars; incarcerated women are from Venus.
Thumbnail for "What Is This?".
What’s it like to go years, even decades, without intimate physical contact with another person?
Thumbnail for "Gabrieleen Silver Queen".
In a remote part of Northern California, a prison town is losing its oldest prison. Ear Hustle took a road trip to hear how Susanvillers are reacting to the news.
Thumbnail for "Is Your Name Alfredo?".
The mysteries behind San Quentin’s epic murals.
Thumbnail for "Boots and Max".
Falling in love, in prison.
Thumbnail for "15 Minutes".
Life lived through 15-minute phone calls.
Thumbnail for "Ear Hustle Extra: Making Trouble".
Stories about trying to get what you want, inside prison.
Thumbnail for "Ear Hustle Extra: A Call from Sacramento".
Our inside colleague Rahsaan “New York” Thomas’ prison sentence has been commuted by California Governor Gavin Newsom. What does that mean for him?
Thumbnail for "Ear Hustle Presents: Written Off".
Introducing Written Off, a podcast featuring formerly incarcerated young writers.
Thumbnail for "Camp Grace".
The roses and thorns of being a dad from prison.
Thumbnail for "Tray, Tumbler, Spork".
Behind the scenes of the 30-Day Ear Hustle Challenge.
Thumbnail for "Yard of Dreams".
The promise of sports starting up post-pandemic brings new people, new possibilities, and new heartbreak onto the fields of San Quentin.
Thumbnail for "Counting Lines".
Three stories about surviving the intense isolation and disorientation of imprisonment in a foreign country.
Thumbnail for "Taxx Is Tripping".
“The definition of bonnaroo is to elevate the evolution of everything in existence.”
Thumbnail for "Stormy Monday".
The Ear Hustle music episode returns!
Thumbnail for "Do It Movin’".
Stories about bail, bail bonds, and the strange purgatory of waiting to get locked up.
Thumbnail for "August 21, 1971".
The 50-year legacy of San Quentin’s deadliest day.
Thumbnail for "Coming Soon: 50 Years After George Jackson".
Season eight of Ear Hustle kicks off Sept 8th with the story of one of the most notorious days in San Quentin’s history: August 21st, 1971.
Thumbnail for "Ear Hustle Presents: Life Jolt".
Introducing Life Jolt, a new podcast series about the experiences of currently and formerly incarcerated women in Ontario, Canada.
Thumbnail for "Home for Me Is Really a Memory".
How do you live a meaningful life when nearly all of it is spent behind bars?
Thumbnail for "Cracked Windshield".
Cops, citizens, and the power of empathy.
Thumbnail for "The Whole Shabang".
Stories from the pages of the prison catalogs.
Thumbnail for "Catch a Kite 6".
Listeners have questions; our team found answers. Catch a Kite is back!
Thumbnail for "Lifer Bakery".
A small Israeli bakery in San Francisco has become a lifeline for people just out of prison.
Thumbnail for "Marcel and Angie".
Two stories about being a transgender person, in prison.
Thumbnail for "Hot Trash".
Stories from prison visiting rooms
Thumbnail for "Sugarbutt's a Snail".
Three Ear Hustlers, revisited
Thumbnail for "Ear Hustle Presents: Suave".
Introducing “Suave,” a podcast series about the system that sentences juveniles to life in prison, told through one man’s story.
Thumbnail for "The Bells".
Stories from the COVID outbreak in California’s prisons
Thumbnail for "The Trail".
In the wake of a violent crime, a perpetrator and victim ask what accountability and survival really look like.
Thumbnail for "Crew No. 7".
In the middle of California’s worst fire season on record, we meet a few formerly incarcerated people training to become firefighters.
Thumbnail for "On Stage in Chicago".
Nigel and Earlonne sit down with 1A’s Jenn White and WBEZ for one of our favorite on-stage events ever.
Thumbnail for "Are You Listening?".
When a parent is incarcerated, the relationship with their kid is changed forever.
Thumbnail for "The Great Ear Hustle Cook Off".
Four formerly-incarcerated contestants put their cooking skills to the test.
Thumbnail for "The Christmas Boxes".
Stories about the things you keep with you in prison and the stuff you leave behind
Thumbnail for "The Gray Goose".
Stories from when you’re locked up and on the road.
Thumbnail for "Ear Hustle Extra: Summer Listening".
Ear Hustle isn’t the only podcast out there telling stories of life in prison and post-incarceration.
Thumbnail for "Nobody Comes Back".
Some people walk out of prison and straight into a whole new type of incarceration.
Thumbnail for "Tired of Running".
Running from the law to avoid incarceration can become its own kind of prison.
Thumbnail for "Catch a Kite 5".
Ear Hustle answers questions from kids incarcerated at a juvenile facility in Madison, Wisconsin.
Thumbnail for "Hold That Space".
Four women share stories of trying to love across prison walls.
Thumbnail for "Sorry Means Nothing".
One crime is treated differently than all others, both inside and outside of prison.
Thumbnail for "Us and Them".
Relationships between incarcerated people and correctional officers are… complicated.
Thumbnail for "Locked Down Again".
As lockdowns loom worldwide, we revisit and update a 2018 episode all about surviving prison lockdowns.
Thumbnail for "Myths & Monikers".
Gator, Razor, Kill Switch, Mother Dearest — Ear Hustle is back with the stories and legends behind prison nicknames.
Thumbnail for "Ear Hustle Extra: In It for the Long Haul".
A formerly incarcerated woman tells Earlonne and Nigel about the joys and dangers of being a commercial truck driver.
Thumbnail for "A Message from Ear Hustle".
Our network, Radiotopia, lets producers like us dream big.
Thumbnail for "Ear Hustle Extra: Antwan Williams, Journeyist".
Ear Hustle team update: Antwan is out!
Thumbnail for "Tell Christy I Love Her".
The violent encounter in 1997 between Tom, a cop, and Jason, a teenager in a gang, was inevitable. The decades-long aftermath was anything but.
Thumbnail for "Chicken on the Bone".
Receiving a death sentence in California doesn’t always mean you’ve reached the end of the road.
Thumbnail for "Catch a Kite 4".
By now an Ear Hustle tradition, this season’s “Catch a Kite” episode tackles questions and shares theme remixes from listeners around the world.
Thumbnail for "Life Shows Up".
Getting a job post-incarceration, with a criminal record trailing you, is all kinds of challenging.
Thumbnail for "Snack Money".
Believe it or not, there’s more to prison jobs than pounding out license plates and slinging cafeteria food.
Thumbnail for "Inside Music".
I think we can all agree: It’s high time we devoted a full episode to the music of San Quentin.
Thumbnail for "I Want the Fairy Tale".
After serving a long prison sentence, it can take a while to get your mack back.
Thumbnail for "Kissing the Concrete".
Everyone in prison dreams about the moment they’ll get out, but it’s the days, weeks and months after that make or break you.
Thumbnail for "Respect the Paper".
Hardly anyone writes letters anymore... except in (and to) prison.
Thumbnail for "Excuse Me on the Tier".
In the Reception Center at San Quentin, guys learn the prison ropes while waiting to find out where they’ll serve time.
Thumbnail for "Season four preview".
Ear Hustle is back with season four, starting June 5.
Thumbnail for "Road Trip".
Bonus episode! Earlonne’s out, and the crew drives to Sacramento to interview the man who made that happen: Governor Jerry Brown.
Thumbnail for "P.S. Asking and Giving".
Earlonne meets a fan, Quentin Blue strikes a chord and one last Radiotopia plug.
Thumbnail for "Bittersweet".
In prison, life’s major milestones usually pass at a distance.
Thumbnail for "Big News: It's Time".
Earlonne and Nigel got some big news earlier this week, from the office of California Governor Jerry Brown.
Thumbnail for "Prime Real Estate".
Stories of romance, dating, and playing the field in prison.
Thumbnail for "The Big No No".
When you’re incarcerated, falling in love with prison staff or volunteers is prohibited. But... it happens.
Thumbnail for "Catch a Kite 3".
Ear Hustle responds to a gang of questions from listeners about daily life in San Quentin.
Thumbnail for "This Place".
Built in 1852, San Quentin has its own story to tell.
Thumbnail for "Future on Ice".
Being an immigrant in an American prison can pose unique challenges.
Thumbnail for "Birdbaths and a Lockbox".
On the heels of a summer lockdown, season three of Ear Hustle launches with an episode about... lockdowns.
Thumbnail for "Season three preview".
Ear Hustle is back September 12! In the meantime, enjoy this preview of season three.
Thumbnail for "So Long".
Leaving an organization or community often calls for an exit strategy – even in prison.
Thumbnail for "Down Low".
Inside San Quentin, if you’re gay you hide it. But if you’re trans you can’t hide it.
Thumbnail for "The Row".
Death row is almost like a prison within a prison.
Thumbnail for "Catch a Kite 2".
You've asked (via postcard) and we have answers!
Thumbnail for "Thick Glass".
Parenting is never easy, but from prison it's especially challenging.
Thumbnail for "The Workaround".
Looking good and feeling good matters just as much on the inside, as on the outside.
Thumbnail for "Dirty Water".
Sex trafficking crimes are hard to talk about. In this episode, Sara and LA share their individual experiences of being “in the life.”
Thumbnail for "Firsts".
“Firsts” in prison can be especially memorable.
Thumbnail for "Season two preview ".
Coming March 14: Season two of Ear Hustle!
Thumbnail for "Ear Hustle Bonus: Songs From S1".
Just in time for the holidays, meet some of the musicians of San Quentin, whose songs were featured in season one.
Thumbnail for "Getting a Date".
There are only a few ways to leave prison: serve your time, get out early on parole... or escape.
Thumbnail for "Gold Coats and OGs".
Dealing with aging and death is never easy. In prison, it's especially challenging.
Thumbnail for "Left Behind".
How do inmates with profoundly long sentences cope with their realities, and maintain a sense of hope and well-being as the years pass?
Thumbnail for "Unwritten".
The color of your skin influences your life on the inside, from sharing food to celebrating birthdays.
Thumbnail for "The Boom Boom Room".
Being married in prison is common. Opportunities to get intimate with your spouse are not.
Thumbnail for "Catch a Kite".
Earlonne and Nigel answer questions mailed in via postcard, aka "kites," from listeners around the world.
Thumbnail for "The SHU".
The hole, the box, solitary confinement… stories from four men who spent years completely isolated in prison.
Thumbnail for "Looking Out".
Meet Rauch, a man incarcerated at San Quentin who has figured out how to “look out” for dozens of critters around the place.
Thumbnail for "Misguided Loyalty".
While the perceived thrill and glamour of gang life are often too strong to resist, the hard consequences of this seduction can last a lifetime.
Thumbnail for "Cellies ".
Finding a roommate can be tough. Finding someone to share a 4' x 9' space with is a whole 'nother story.
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Ear Hustle brings you the stories of life inside prison, shared and produced by those living it.

Catch a Kite Nationwide

Thumbnail for "Catch a Kite Nationwide".
May 15, 202432min 21sec

For our latest Catch a Kite episode, we’re taking advantage of a new tool: the electronic tablets that recently became available in 400+ jails and prisons across the nation. Using their tablets, incarcerated Ear Hustlers from around the country responded to listener questions, including: What do people in prison hide from their families? And what’s something that you can only learn from being in prison?

Thanks to Alvin, at Muskegon Correctional Facility in Michigan; Silk, at Chautauqua County Jail in New York; Cortez, at Ashland County Jail in Ohio; Darrell, at Pruntytown Correctional Center in West Virginia; Alexis, at Pamunkey Regional Jail in Virginia; Owen, at North Central Regional Jail in West Virginia; Damian, at Neuse Correctional Institution in North Carolina; Chris, at Washington Correctional Center in Washington; Krista, at Leath Correctional Institution in South Carolina; Brandon, at Montana State Prison in Montana; Kelly, at Omaha Correctional Center in Nebraska; Demetrius, at Richard Handlon Correctional Facility in Michigan; Donald, at Two Rivers Correctional Facility in Oregon; Ruby, at Western Correctional Center for Women in North Carolina; and Andres, at Mount Olive Correctional Complex in West Virginia, for listening to Ear Hustle on their tablets and speaking with us for the episode.

Thanks to Sophia, John, and Manuel from Los Angeles; Cameron from Boston; Gail from St. Augustine, Florida; and Erica from Centerville, Massachusetts, for calling in with their questions.

Thanks also to John Timpone and Meghan Tobin of Edovo for helping us expand our Catch a Kite reach to people incarcerated across the nation.

This episode was scored with music by Antwan Williams.

As always, we’re grateful to Lt. Berry at San Quentin State Prison for her support of the show.

Support our team and get even more Ear Hustle by subscribing to Ear Hustle Plus today. Sign up at earhustlesq.com/plus or right in Apple Podcasts.

Our spring fundraiser is here! Learn more and donate: on.prx.org/4d5WnCm

Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX.