A $500 "podcasting kit" lands PWOP smack dab into my Snake Oil category. I've produced almost 70 45-minute podcasts over the past year and a bit and I've spent...lemme see....maybe $200 in total. And started with the equipment I already had.
I have exactly two settings that I need to check every time I make a show: the volume levels of my computer and the volume setting on my mic. I think most of us can keep track of that, no?
PWOPs list consists of a bunch of stuff that's nice to have, but certainly not required. It's also strangely bereft of any mixing software or audio editors. What are we supposed to do with our shiny new audio file, PWOPsters? I suspect you have an answer for that.
I've said it a bajillion times: download Audacity, get your hands on a $20 headset mic from your local Radio Shack and start talking. Save your $500 for your hosting fees.