Recording a podcast is, theoretically, a simple affair requiring a microphone and a something to record onto (normally a computer these days). The theory is fine, but in practice it’s a lot harder than it sounds!
We use a variety of different microphones, depending on the situation.
Rich primarily uses the Blue Snowball, from Blue Microphones. It’s a USB microphone, and requires minimal knowledge to operate – which works great for him.
Recently we obtained several Sony micro recorders which are great for man-on-the-street interviews at conferences, and what’s what we tend to use when not at home.
Actually plugging in a microphone and starting a recording isn’t hard, but getting the levels correctly setup so that it it’s usable, figuring out what to say and sitting in a room talking to yourself all take a bit of getting used to. It’s certainly not as simple as it looks!
Skype has proven to be useful for obtaining interviews with people the world over, but recording the interviews isn’t as straightforward as it could be. On windows good results have been obtained using Hot Recorder for VoIP, but this doesn’t record each person as a separate file (which would make the editing more complex but likely produce better results). The same product should also be able to record a number of other VoIP solutions, but so far none have been tested.
For non-interview stuff, we use Audacity for recording and editing. Audacity is free (for all appropriate definitions of free), and very easy to learn and use. However, if you don’t get a good recording to start with, the best software in the world isn’t really going to make it all better.