136 episodes

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 Ear Hustle Plus

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.9 • 1.4K Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

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.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Hope Lacquer

    Hope Lacquer

    Inside prison, as well as out, some of us cling to stuff and some of us let go. In this episode: two cell-block neighbors engage in a gentle dispute, Tony attempts to Marie Kondo his future from inside prison, and Mesro won’t have his keepsakes disrespected.Thanks to our colleagues and collaborators inside San Quentin — Carrington, Mesro, Sadiq, and Tony — for talking to us about their stuff, and to Tony’s Uncle Eric for welcoming us into his home.  This episode was scored with music by David Jassy, Antwan Williams, E. Phil Phillips, Rhashiyd Zinnamon, Gregory Dixon, and Earlonne Woods.Big thanks to Acting Warden Andes and Lt. Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Warden Parker, Associate Warden Lewis, and Lt. Newborg at the California Institution for Women for their 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 directly in Apple Podcasts. (And while you’re there, leave us a review!)Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. 

    • 49 min
    EH+ Ask Ear Hustle Anything 6

    EH+ Ask Ear Hustle Anything 6

    April’s Ask Me Anything episode features Nigel, Earlonne, and EH Executive Producer Bruce Wallace sipping Old Fashioneds while answering listener questions that lead to a discussion of the perfect murder, jury duty, what it’s like for Earlonne to return to prison as a volunteer, “arcing,” and much more.Things mentioned in this episode:The philosophies of James Brown, godfather of soul.Classic Old Fashioneds."Misguided Loyalty" Jury DutySnap Judgment “Money Truck” "American Me" “Except for that one thing” - This American Life episode with person sentenced then forgotten about Dateline NBC Everything is Alive: “Louis, Can of Cola” Snapped 
    Tradition of Violence E’s Mike Playlist
    Nipsey Hussle playlistMichael Jackson, "Power, Business and Influence""Gavin Newsom requests pardon for award-winning podcaster" Got a burning question for Nigel and Earlonne or the Ear Hustle team? Apple subscribers: email them to ama@earhustlesq.com; Supercast subscribers: add them to earhustle.supercast.com/ama. We just might answer your question in our next AMA episode! Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. 

    Five Mirrors

    Five Mirrors

    Twelve years ago, Nigel asked San Quentin resident Greg Eskridge to write a list of everything he owned in prison. That much, Earlonne remembers. The rest of this episode is a surprise gift, from one Ear Hustle host to another. Thanks to Greg Eskridge for speaking and sharing his lists with us. You can hear more of Greg on the podcast Uncuffed, a podcast training program based in San Quentin and Solano prisons. This episode was scored with music by Rhashiyd Zinnamon, Derrell Sadiq Davis, Antwan Williams, David Jassy, and Earlonne Woods.Big thanks to Acting Warden Andes and Lt. Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Warden Williams and Lt. Newborg at the California Institution for Women for their 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 directly in Apple Podcasts. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. 

    • 44 min
    EH+ A Visit to West Block

    EH+ A Visit to West Block

    Gary “Coop” Cooper is in his 70s, is pretty sick, and has a hard time getting around. Despite that, he doesn’t want to move off of the third tier of San Quentin’s West Block. We recorded this interview last summer, planning to include it in our hospice episode, but it just didn’t fit in. So we’re sharing it here.


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

    What's Up, Michael Freeman?

    What's Up, Michael Freeman?

    A bucolic garden, six kinds of breakfast cereal, and around-the-clock bedside vigil: How one California prison is trying to mitigate the fears and unknowns of dying inside prison. Thanks to Joseph Bick, Michele DiThomas, Terrance Harris, Allan Hickman, Gerard Hite, Jerry Judson, Keith Knauf, Jeff Maria, Earl Miller, Michael Powell, and Frederick Roberts for speaking to us for this episode. This episode was scored with music by Rhashiyd Zinnamon, Fernando Arruda, Antwan Williams, and Earlonne Woods. “Down The Hall” © 2022 Open Secret Music (ASCAP) – Administered by Bluewater Music Services Corp. Used By Permission. All Rights Reserved. Big thanks to Acting Warden Smith and Lt. Berry at San Quentin State Prison, and Acting Warden Hill and Lt. Newborg at the California Institution for Women for their support of the show. We’re also grateful to Acting Warden Cueva and Lt. Gonzalez at the California Medical Facility for allowing our team to record inside the hospice. Support our team and get even more Ear Hustle by subscribing to Ear Hustle Plus today. Sign up at earhustlesq.com/plus or directly in Apple Podcasts. Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX.

    • 53 min
    EH+ Ask Ear Hustle Anything 5

    EH+ Ask Ear Hustle Anything 5

    It’s March’s Ask Me Anything episode! Earlonne and Nigel answer questions sent in by subscribers; EH executive producer Bruce Wallace passes them along. There’s little prep and very light editing. Stuff gets wild.


    Things mentioned in this episode:


    Mt. Tamalpais College, formerly the Prison University Project, where Nigel started volunteering in San Quentin


    “Getting a Date,” the episode where Steve Wilson talks about escaping prison


    There are a few recommendations of groups that support books and libraries in prison on this page


    Lemon Twist and Al’s Attire, two of Nigel’s favorite clothing spots


    “Keep Your Head to the Sky” by Earth, Wind & Fire, the song E wants played at his funeral


    “Stairway to Heaven” by The O’Jays


    And the song nobody could think of, “Gangsta Lean” by DRS


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

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
1.4K Ratings

1.4K Ratings

Matowen77 ,

Must listen

I’ve been listening to ear hustle since ep 1 , it’s a must listen as soon as I see it in my podcasts, great stories , amazing sound scape and the best hosts on any pod, I actually cried when I heard the extra episode about Earlonne getting released !!
Keep up the good work, Nigel and Earlonne.
From Mat Owen in the Uk

Echos Answer ,

The best podcast out there!

Been listening since season 1 and seriously love this podcast. Always refreshing, I love how they give a realistic yet optimistic portrayal of the realities of life in prison. The hosts are awesome and stories meaningful and poignant.

Shooker374 ,

Amazing concept

A revealing and heartbreaking look into prisons in the US! Love the hosts - such a pioneering concept which is working to reduce stigma around incarceration.

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