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From Trump's trials to the history of hip-hop, NPR's can't-miss podcasts from 2023

Podcast tile art for The 13th Step, from NHPR; The Trump's Trials, from NPR; Violation, from WBUR; White Lies, from NPR; 50 Years of Hip Hop, from KEXP; Taking Cover, from NPR.

2023 was a whirlwind year for podcasts across the NPR Network. With just two weeks left before 2024, now is the time to catch up on a few our favorite shows and seasons of the year.

The podcast episode descriptions below are from podcast webpages and have been edited for brevity and clarity.

The 13th Step

Podcast tile art for The 13th Step, from NHPR.

It started with a tip. Eventually, multiple sources said it was an open secret: The founder of New Hampshire's largest addiction treatment network was sexually harassing or assaulting women — allegations he denies. NHPR's The 13th Step investigates how so many people could end up hurt in an industry dedicated to healing.

Start listening.

Trump's Trial

Podcast tile art for Trump's Trials, from NPR.

Reporting and analysis on the inquiries, trials and criminal probes facing former President Donald Trump. From the Jan. 6 insurrection and Georgia election interference, to the ongoing question of classified documents — and beyond — host Scott Detrow, political editor Domenico Montanaro and legal experts dive deep every week to explore the news inside the courtrooms and the stakes for American democracy.

Listen to the latest episode, "Should the Jan 6 trial be televised? Trump and many journalists say yes."

Sugar Land

Podcast tile art for Sugar Land, from The Texas Newsroom.
/ The Texas Newsroom
The Texas Newsroom

In 2018, construction crews in Sugar Land, Texas, uncovered 95 unmarked graves. This wasn't a serial killer's dumping ground, but it was evidence of a particularly dark period in U.S. history — evidence many in Sugar Land wished had stayed hidden. The Texas Newsroom's Sugar Land tells the story of these 95 people. Who were they, and what happened to them?

Listen to episode 1, "Who's Buried Here?"


Podcast tile art for Violation, from WBUR.

How much time in prison is enough? Who gets to decide? And when someone commits a terrible crime, what does redemption look like? From WBUR and The Marshall Project, Violation explores America's opaque parole system through a 1986 murder case that binds two families.

Listen to episode 1, "Two Sons, Lost."

Body Electric

Podcast tile art for Body Electric, from NPR.

Our bodies are adapting and changing to meet the demands of the Information Age. What is happening? And what can we do about it? This six-part series is an interactive investigation into the relationship between our technology and our bodies — and how we can fix it.

Listen to part 1, "So much sitting, looking at screens. Can we combat our sedentary lives?"

City of Tents: Veterans Row

Podcast tile art for City of Tents, from KCRW.

In one of LA's fanciest neighborhoods, homeless military veterans built a big tent city and refused to leave. City of Tents: Veterans Row from KCRW tells the story of the men who built the camp as a protest, and how it became both a refuge and a battlefield.

Start with episode 1, "Welcome to the Neighborhood."

White Lies

Podcast tile art for White Lies, from NPR.

On the morning of Aug. 21, 1991, a group of Cuban detainees took over a federal prison in Talladega, Ala., and demanded their freedom. But how did they get here? And what became of them after?

Start the series with episode 1, "The Men on the Roof."

Ghost Herd

Podcast tile art for Ghost Herd, from KUOW.

It started as an American success story. The Easterday family took a couple hundred acres of farmland in Eastern Washington and grew it into a farming and ranching empire worth millions. Then, it all came crashing down.

Check out KUOW and Northwest Public Broadcasting's new show Ghost Herd, starting with Part 1: The Empire Builders.

The Last Ride

Podcast tile art for The Last Ride, from NPR.

Nearly 20 years ago, two young men of color vanished three months apart, on the same road in Naples, Fla., under eerily similar circumstances. They were last seen with the same white sheriff's deputy. The since-fired deputy's story could never be corroborated. He's the only person of interest, but has never been charged. No one has. What went wrong?

Start listening with episode 1, "One deputy, two missing men."

50 Years of Hip-Hop

Podcast tile art for 50 Years of Hip Hop, from KEXP.

A party in the Bronx on Aug. 11, 1973 is widely considered to be the birthplace of hip-hop. The artform has since touched every corner of our world and evolved into one of the most significant cultural forces today. 50 Years of Hip-Hop, hosted by KEXP's Larry Mizell Jr, celebrates the anniversary by highlighting a different year of its history each week.

Get started with this dive into hip hop's origins and inspirations.

Taking Cover

Podcast tile art for Taking Cover, from NPR.

It was the worst Marine-on-Marine friendly fire incident in modern history. But it's not in the history books. An explosion in Fallujah, Iraq, left three dead, a dozen wounded, and — for high-ranking officials — a dilemma. So, why were the families of the deceased lied to? Why did the reports mysteriously disappear? And why do survivors still have to wonder about what happened on the worst day of their lives? Taking Cover, an NPR investigative series from the Embedded podcast, isn't just a show about unraveling blue-on-blue tragedy during the Iraq war. It's about what happens when we send our young to war. It's a story of betrayal, brotherhood, and what's owed — to families, the wounded and to the American public.

Start listening.

Brave Little State

Podcast tile art for Brave Little State, from Vermont Public.
/ Vermont Public
Vermont Public

Two Abenaki First Nations in Canada contest the legitimacy of the four groups recognized by the state of Vermont as Abenaki tribes. This is a dispute that goes back at least two decades, and has gained more prominence in recent years. In Chapter One of "Recognized," a special series from Brave Little State, we trace Abenaki history up to 2003, when Odanak First Nation first denounced Vermont groups claiming to be Abenaki.

Start listening.

NPR's Jessica Green curated and produced this piece.

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