Podcast syncing iOS6 (don't want to go to 7 to lose it completely)

10-11  Source: Network gathering  Views:0 

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This may be an unfixable problem due to changes in iTunes itself but maybe someone can shed some light.
First, I've been reading all about how terrible the podcast app is and that it is the only option for iOS7 now. I used the podcast app for a couple of hours a while back and hated it. It did not allow me to do what I wanted to do - made many decisions for me that I didn't want made.
Essentially, I want to go back to the ability to manually manage my podcasts by dragging and dropping the way I did a couple of years ago. Even the going to the "Podcast" tab and checking off and on the podcasts I want to put on my device would be fine, but now that doesn't work anymore! (Probably worse since I upgraded phone from 3gs to 5 along with a reluctant iOS upgrade to 6.) iTunes says that podcasts that are on my phone are not on my phone and the other way around. If I swipe and delete podcasts from the phone they don't (never did). If I check and uncheck in the podcast tab and then hit "sync", nothing changes. (Yes, I have manually manage on.)
iTunes and my iPhone clearly are not speaking the same language. It's not a problem with music. I am considering following someone's advice about changing the genre and Media Type of podcasts. I am also considering going with something like Downcast however it looks like Downcast is all about the device and does not allow syncing with the computer. I currently have over 3600 podcasts on my computer (guess I should get rid of them!) and they just aren't going to fit on the phone!! (even if I do some housekeeping.)
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I'm posting this because I'm not in iOS7 and that's all I could come up when I went looking here.
could it be that at the time it fails it does not have a working connection to the carrier ?
if so then changing phone will only help if the phone you change to have a better antenna
or you're located in a place with better carrier coverish
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