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Podcasting inmate released

Successful podcast leads to inmate’s early parole

Podcasts are everywhere. Why? Because just about anyone has the ability to create their own.

But since there are so many out there, the key is finding an audience. It can be difficult to stand out from the crowd, as a lot of popular topics often become over-saturated with podcasters.

But some are very specific, and moving in a way others can’t replicate. One such podcast is so successful in that regard that their episodes have been downloaded tens of millions of times. And that same podcast led to the early release of a prison inmate.

‘Ear Hustle’ focuses on prison life

Walter “Earlonne” Woods, 47, spent the last two decades behind bars after being convicted of attempted armed robbery. But for the past year-plus, he’s also co-hosted and co-produced a podcast called “Ear Hustle” that documents everyday life in California’s San Quentin State Prison.

Since its launch in 2017, 30 episodes have been downloaded 20 million times by fans around the globe. Those fans regularly send cards and letters, but it was a call from the California governor’s office that changed everything for Woods.

In November, California Gov. Jerry Brown commuted Brown’s sentence of 31 years to life. “He has set a positive example for his peers and, through his podcast, has shared meaningful stories from those inside prison,” Brown wrote in his commutation letter.

Woods is now a free man and has been hired on as a full-time producer for “Ear Hustle.” He told the Associated Press he’ll stay on the topic of life in prison, and also add his new experiences since being released.

Podcasting and what it means for you

“Podcasting is the next generation of radio and users can now subscribe to more than 3,000 free podcasts and have each new episode automatically delivered over the Internet to their computer and iPod,” the late Steve Jobs of Apple said in 2005.

He was right. Millions of Americans now listen to podcasts. Nearly a year ago in fact, Variety reported there were more than 500,000 active podcasts available through Apple. Those numbers continue to climb.

Do you listen to podcasts? We extensively cover podcasting at, such as:

We even have our very own podcast network, called PodNet. There, you’ll find a number of different podcast channels including Kim’s Consumer Tech Update and Komando on Demand. Subscribe to each through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora and Amazon Music.

Questions? Find answers with Podcasts 101.

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