Podcasting has gone from personal to business and back to personal again. Companies are using podcasting to provide consumers, shareholders, and the media access to important audio and video data while consumers are using podcasting to broadcast their talents, vacations, or rants to the world.
One great tool too help in creating audio files that can be used in podcasts ("podcast" is such a nasty term that gives too much free advertising to Apple — netcasting is a better term) is called Audacity.
Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing audio and is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. You can use it to convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs, or you can cut, copy, splice, and mix sounds together.
It's really a great piece of software that allows the easy recording and mixing of sounds that can then be uploaded to websites or sent to friends around the world. If you do a quick search on Google, you'll find that Audacity was won a number of kudos from users everywhere and the only other device one needs to use the system is a microphone. My laptop has a built-in mike, so I just talk to my computer and upload my content.
I have been using Audacity for about 18 months. Earlier versions had problems with crashes, but over the last 6 months, the software has improved and I've never experienced a crash–I use the software about once a week.