3 insider tips to enjoying podcasts

More than a century after the radio was invented, people are still using it for news, entertainment and passing the time on long trips. I know this firsthand: I host a national talk show that’s broadcast on more than 400 top radio stations across the U.S. and on Armed Forces Radio internationally.

But when it comes to the spoken word these days, podcasting is also a force. According to Edison Research, the number of podcast listeners is growing 21-24 percent every year. Podcasts are easy to produce and distribute, and all kinds of would-be broadcasters are expressing themselves through downloadable sound.

Tip in a Tip: If you are new to podcasts, it’s super easy to get started. Click here for a step-by-step guide to finding and listening to podcasts.

There are so many podcasts to tap into, we often forget just how many we’re downloading. They don’t take up as much space as video, but those megabytes do add up. When your phone tells you

you're running out of space, you may wonder how it's possible. You’ve been so careful to conserve space! Why should your phone be flooded when you have only a handful of apps?

The culprit might be your podcast intake. Here are some tips for keeping your queue in check.

1. Take control of your podcasts

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It’s easy to binge on podcasts, because they’re free and easy to subscribe to. But if you automatically download, say, 30MB of data each time, you may be surprised how quickly you get warnings that your phone is almost full.

So think strategically about the subjects you’re interested in, and how committed you’ll be. You can download one episode at a time, a la carte, and if you don’t find yourself jumping from episode to episode, there’s probably no reason to subscribe. You may love yachting, but you may not need yachting news five times a week.

When that happens, it’s time to find the podcasts you’re not enjoying and unsubscribe from them. If you’re using Apple’s Podcasts app, tap My Podcasts on the bottom of the screen to see your subscriptions, then swipe left on the podcast’s title and tap Delete. You can also remove single episodes by tapping Unplayed on the bottom of the screen to see them and swiping left to delete them.

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I also produce a weekly podcast that covers the top tech news. In just a few minutes, you know what’s new in the tech issues and topics that are continuously transforming our lives. Hear about gadgets, websites, cybersecurity and every other aspect of the digital lifestyle.

Click here for instant access to Tech News This Week.

It’s simple to get loaded up with podcasts. Most media outlets and celebrities have their own podcasts. Simply search iTunes or Google Play to find the ones that interest you. You can also search by title or subject. Search results will show you both programs and episodes.

2. Set your options and favorites

You can let your iPhone think for you. Apple’s Podcasts app can restrict your automatic downloads. You can set exactly how many episodes you want to keep, and the app will delete the rest. If you fail to listen to a podcast series for a certain amount of time, the app will stop automatically downloading episodes.

Other podcast apps often have a similar feature that enables you to set episode limits and automatically dump the rest.

With so many podcasts, you’ll love the ability to queue up your favorites. This way, you can play them in the order you wish to hear them without reopening the app every time a podcast ends. In the Podcasts app, select your first podcast and tap on the three dots to the right of its title. You’ll see the option, Add to Up Next. That’s where the magic happens.

3. Be a speed listener

Do you remember the television and radio commercials that promised you the ability to read faster than ever and still retain your newfound knowledge? With the explosion of so many podcasts, there are people now who are “speed listening.”

The premise is simple: The faster you listen to a podcast, the more podcasts you can consume. In the process, there are no concerns about filling up your device. You listen and you delete. Boom.

I’ve tried it, and I’ve found that if the podcast doesn’t have many interviews, I can speed listen and still get the gist of the story.

When you listen to a podcast, there is a player at the bottom of the screen. (You might have to swipe up to see it.) On Apple’s Podcast app, for example, there is a number in the lower left corner. The default is 1x, which lets you hear the podcast at normal speed.

Speed listeners can tap this button to change the playback speed to 1 1/2x or 2x. There’s also an option for 1/2x. I’m not quite sure when you would actually want to listen to a podcast very, very, very slowly, but it’s there.

What other cool things can you do with digital media? Be sure to listen to or download my podcasts, or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.