‘Ear Hustle’ Launches Season 3

The eight-episode season will be heard throughout all CDCR prisons.

Ear Hustle returned from hiatus today, Sept. 12, with the first episode of its third season, Birdbaths and a Lockbox.”

Illustration by Antwan Williams

Episode one takes a look at lockdowns — what causes them, and how they affect the people inside San Quentin State Prison — and also explores the recent national prison strike.

Other episodes in season three of Ear Hustle will continue to tell stories of life inside prison, bringing brand new narratives and updates from guys you already know.

“In this season, we are going to be talking to formerly incarcerated men from San Quentin,” said Nigel Poor, co-host and co-producer of Ear Hustle. “We’re looking forward to catching up with them.”

The beginning of season three also marks the first time Ear Hustle will be heard in all California state prisons.

“On Aug. 28, 2018, the first episodes of Ear Hustle aired in all California prisons,” said Earlonne Woods, co-host and co-producer of the podcast. “Getting Ear Hustle aired in all of the CDCR institutions was groundbreaking for us.”

Airing the show in all California state prisons has been Nigel’s goal for the show since before Ear Hustle won Radiotopia’s Podquest contest, and she is “so excited” about this development.

Illustration by Antwan Williams
“I know what it’s meant to the men inside San Quentin to hear Ear Hustle, so I imagine it’ll have a similar benefit in the other institutions, which is to make people feel heard and visible, and to garner interest for what happens to people once they’re inside prison,” Nigel said. “And, hopefully more family members of people who are incarcerated will hear it too, because there are a lot more prisons that will share information about the show.”

The first half of the season focuses on lockdowns, what it’s like to be in an American prison when you’re not an American citizen, the personal and institutional history of San Quentin and its inmates, and dating inside.

The eight episodes will feature more connections to the outside and new collaborations, including a potential collaboration with a women’s prison for the dating episode — though Earlonne noted that working with other organizations or prisons is “a bit of a challenge” from inside San Quentin.

And, as Nigel said in the season three preview, she’s particularly excited about the episode on dating.

“It’s a topic I’m really interested in, and I love that we’re going to be connecting with a women’s institution — a women’s prison — to hear their perspective,” Nigel said. “Because, although I love what we’re doing with Ear Hustle, I feel it’s important for women’s voices to be out there, too. So it’s a great way to include them this season.”

Earlonne, on the other hand, is most excited about an episode slated for the second half of the season.

“The story that I’m attached to this season is about how we deal with the death of a loved one while incarcerated, especially if that loved one is your child,” Earlonne said. “It’s going to be a personal challenge for me to do the interviews because it’s so close to home.”

The production team is hoping to increase the length of episodes this season, and include more music and spoken word in their stories.

“When people come through the prison on tours, they mention how much they love the original music,” Earlonne said. “So this season we’d like to sprinkle in more music and spoken word for our listeners to consume. It’s gonna be fire.”

Earlonne’s wish for season three is the same as his birthday wish: more subscriptions to Ear Hustle’s monthly newsletter, The Lowdown.

“It is my goal to get 100,000+ new subscribers to our newsletter this season. So please tell five of your closest friends to sign up,” Earlonne said. “Thanks in advance.”

P.S. As part of its season three celebration, Ear Hustle has created mugs! Purchase them here.

You can get all of Ear Hustle’s stories on Apple Podcasts, RadioPublic or wherever you listen. Follow the show on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, too.