Okay, mypologize... I'm new here and hope I'm not breaking protocol but, it seems this issue hasn't been resolved yet. While the crux is apparently the same, the specifics are not.
The problem I have, and others as well, is with older podcasts that may have several hundred episodes avaialble on the feed. If I start downloading episodes and listen to them I have 2 (practical) choices...
A. Mark as listened but leave them on my hard drive.
2. Delete them, in which case I have no way of knowing whether they've ever been downloaded or listend to.
The all or nothing d/l can take forever and consume huge amounts of storage space. I will concede the manual d/l in order to manage space but, I need to know I'm not re-d/l-ing episodes I've previously heard. I'm not addle-brained but, it can be difficult to remember which episode I last listened to out of a dozen podcasts that consist of hundreds of episodes each.
Is it that difficult to create a permanent "played" tag that will remain after the episode is deleted? I believe iTunes can do it. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself. Again, mypologize.)