Edited on 7/8/2012 to include WASAPI. Thanks to Dan Moxon for asking about it!
In Windows (and Mac, and Linux) you want to plug something in, launch a program, and have it “just work”. Most of the time this happens. When it doesn’t, you find yourself unplugging, replugging, rebooting, and screaming at the Internet until you find a solution.
Assuming your equipment is working, did you know that it’s possible that it could be working better?
There comes a point when a podcaster wonders “How should I be encoding my mp3s? What’s the right quality vs. file size trade off?” Hopefully this thought occurs before releasing Episode 1, but it is common to read a podcasting tutorial or book and just go with whatever that source is recommending. There’s really nothing wrong with that — the golden rule of audio production is if it sounds good, then you’re doing it right!
I’m only talking audio podcasts here. Video is out of the scope of this post.