Podcasting, at its essence, is amateur broadcasting, dispensing audio on the Internet instead of over the airwaves. It's free advertising for your style, and for voice actors and comedians, it's the easiest way to get your work out there, in a fun, easily digestible format.
The equipment needed for podcasting varies, depending on the desired final product. The most bare bones approach only requires a computer with a built-in microphone and an Internet connection, although obviously the quality of the recording will suffer this way.
For better results, you'll want a condenser microphone. Condenser microphones are used for recording in studios, and differ from dynamic microphones, normally used onstage. Condenser microphones are normally much more expensive than dynamic mics, but there are plenty of inexpensive models available.
If your podcast only features one person at a time, the Samson C01U condenser microphone will be the easiest to use. The C01U is a USB microphone, so it can be plugged directly into a computer, taking away the need for a mixer. The C01U also comes in a podcasting package, including a cable, mic stand, and noise reducing shock mount. Other condenser microphones, such as the MXL 990 and the CAD GXL2200 require a power source, like a mixer.
If you're recording with multiple people (if you have guests on your podcast) or you're using a non-USB microphone, you'll need a mixer, an interface to which the microphones connect. A mixer allows a user to adjust the volume of the microphones separately. Like condenser microphones or any recording equipment, mixers can be very expensive, but for the purpose of a podcast, a small, four or five channel, for up to four or five microphones, mixer will work well. The Nady MM-242 mixer has eight mono (non-stereo) inputs, can run on a 9 volt battery and costs under $30 on Amazon. The Behringer Xenyx 502 mixer offers high quality sound with five inputs, including inputs for a CD player.
If you'd like to edit your podcast, you'll need editing software. However, unless you're looking for recording studio quality, some of the most widely used software is free. For Apple users, GarageBand is a great, easy-to-use program that comes pre-installed. Audacity is another great editing program that's free to download for any operating system.
One of the most important things for any audio recording is a decent pair of headphones. Hearing what's being recorded is absolutely necessary, and good headphones will allow you to hear any interfering noise that will ruin a take. Get a pair of studio headphones that cover the ears and won't cut out bass, like the Behringer HPS3000 or the Sennheiser HD 202.
Make sure to record your podcast somewhere quiet. Often the best place to record spoken word audio is a small room, which will cut down on the echoing that will occur in a larger space. If it's only featuring one person, the best place to record could be a closet, or under a blanket. Experimenting with different spaces, and always paying close attention to the sound coming through the headphones will yield the best results.