Note: WildVoice.com will cease operations on July 1, 2009.
You don't need a professional recording studio to immortalize your brilliant thoughts and dulcet tones. All you need is a free program called WildVoice Studio.
WildVoice Studio's compact main window is broken into four components: Sound FX, Background Tracks, Mixer, and Show Builder. WVS includes a number of common sound effects--car horns, kisses, thunder, and so forth--and lets you add your own as well. Background Tracks can search your folders for files in the supported formats (AIFF, MP1, MP2, MP3, OGG, WAV,) and fade them in and out of your show. In Mixer, you move the sliders to get the volume mix right. Show Builder shows you a recording preview so you can see the volume levels, and you can create several clips to paste together into one show. None of this takes any special knowledge or equipment, although of course better recording equipment will produce better results.
I tested WildVoice Studio by reading bits of a Dickens novel aloud, doing each paragraph as one take. WildVoice lets you add sound effects and your own background tracks as you go, instead of creating separate tracks to mix. I slapped in a few of WildVoice's provided sound effects for good measure. One nifty feature: You can freeze all the tracks in place if you have to stop for a moment, then unfreeze when you're ready to record again.
Building the show was a snap. I just lined up my clips, saved the show as a WildVoice file, then selected "Save Show to MP3 and Publish" (skipping the "publish" part) to save as MP3.
That said, if you register with WildVoice, you can upload your podcasts to WildVoice.com, where your adoring fans can listen, comment, and Digg your work. It's a simple way to broadcast your shows without eating up your own bandwidth.
Note: WildVoice Studio Setup will install Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0, if it's not already installed on your PC.