People are asking about Ear Hustle; here are some of the questions we hear most often. Have a question not answered here? Email us or send us a postcard, and keep your ears peeled for “Catch a Kite” episodes featuring questions sent in from listeners via postcard.
Two weeks between episodes is an eternity! Why does it take so long?
We appreciate listeners wanting to hear more episodes, more often, but please keep in mind that producing a podcast from inside a prison (without internet or phone access) takes much more time than producing one on the outside. This has been a learning process for all involved, and while our systems are improving as the season unfolds, it’s still a ton of work to get each episode publish-ready.
Is Ear Hustle censored by San Quentin State Prison (SQSP) authorities?
Every Ear Hustle episode is approved by prison administration as a matter of policy concerning outgoing media of any form from SQ. The administration has shown great support for EH, and we see no indication that they will make it difficult for us to pursue the podcast we’ve outlined from the start - sharing stories about the day to day life in prison. We are not concerned about this need for approval compromising the content or integrity of the show.
Why is Nigel co-hosting with Earlonne?
The EH team feels strongly that Nigel’s presence as a co-host is key to the show, as she represents the listener in these conversations. Ear Hustle is about connecting the inside and outside, it’s about a strong, artistic collaboration between men and women, incarcerated and nonincarcerated.
Are the inside producers getting paid?
Ear Hustle was created and is produced as a labor of love. All monies earned through sponsorships and donations are invested directly back into the project to cover the cost of production, including paying Nigel for her role in co-producing, co-hosting, and shepherding the show from San Quentin to the public. To date revenue does not cover the entire cost of producing the show; PRX absorbs the extra expenses.
In following institutional protocol from CDCR, Ear Hustle is not allowed to directly pay the men working on the show. Earlonne is assigned to the San Quentin TV area and is paid for his work there, including Ear Hustle. Beyond monetary compensation, the men involved with Ear Hustle production are learning marketable skills that can help them job search once they leave prison.
Additionally, once Ear Hustle is earning steady revenue, we intend to donate a portion of this to the Prison University Project - the program that Nigel first worked with when she began volunteering at San Quentin in 2011.
How can I collaborate with Ear Hustle?
Thank you so much for the interest, but to be honest, most likely - you can’t. It’s not possible to bring collaborators into SQSP regularly, nor to connect via internet or phone with the men inside. Besides the logistical challenges of collaborating, while there are many people on the outside pursuing excellent journalism and storytelling about prison culture and reform, with Ear Hustle we are committed to producing stories from and giving voice to the men on the inside.
Do you have transcripts of the episodes?
Yes! You can find transcripts of each episode on our transcripts page.
How can I support Ear Hustle?
Thanks for your interest in this! You can always donate to the show, to support what we’re doing, and help keep us Hustling into the future.
Does purchasing merch support the Ear Hustle team directly?
As explained above, we are not able to directly pay the men working on Ear Hustle. But we are donating 25% of all proceeds from merch to San Quentin's Prison University Project, the program that Nigel first worked with when she began volunteering there in 2011. The rest of the proceeds from merch will go toward supporting production of the show.
How can I write a letter directly to the guys who tell their stories in Ear Hustle?
Prison rules prohibit Nigel from passing on any letters, but you can find all the information you'll need – an inmate's CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) number and the prison address – yourself.
Locate any inmate's CDCR number here: http://inmatelocator.cdcr.ca.gov
Find SQ's address and instructions here: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Facilities_Locator/SQ.html
And you'll find the names of the men featured in our stories on each episode page linked from the homepage.
How can I write a letter to an inmate at another prison?
That's great that you want to start writing letters to prisoners! Unfortunately, we can’t provide guidance on specific pen pal programs, because we simply don’t know enough about each individual one. We encourage you to do careful research and vet pen pal programs thoroughly before giving them your information.
I'd like to donate a book/s to San Quentin. Is that possible?
Yes, and thank you very much! All general donations will go to the existing library for all the men to borrow including those in administrative segregation, mainline, receptions center, condemned row and the hospital.
But do please heed these guidelines: No hardcovers, no sexually explicit content, and no overtly violent content will be accepted. If you are sending used books, make sure they are free of any personal information such as notes or bookmarks stuck between the pages.
Ship your books to:
Book Donation for SQSP
1 Main St.
P.O. Box 487
San Quentin, CA 94964
Note: This only applies for general donations. If you want to send a book to a specific person, it needs to be purchased via an approved vendor, ie: Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and sent directly to the incarcerated person. For example:
John Doe, CDCR #A23554
(Housing unit, if known)
San Quentin State Prison
66 Main St.
San Quentin, CA 94964
You can find the CDCR number on the Prison Locator:
Big thanks to Ms. Lopez for volunteering her time and effort to organize this process and for finding a way for books to get inside.
I live in the Bay Area and would like to volunteer at San Quentin. How can I get involved?
That's great! Here are a few programs you can look into at SQSP:
Insight Prison Project
Prison University Project
The San Quentin Trust
California Reentry Program
Insight Garden Program