Graymatterhost Honored for Green, Business-Friendly Websites

By Nichole DupontiBerkshires Staff
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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — In the age of Facebook, Blackberries, tweets and iPhones, technology can be intimidating, even for tech-savvy people.

Small businesses especially struggle to keep up with an ever-changing Web world in which Google is king and taking precious time to manage a website is nearly impossible.

It was with these small businesses and organizations in mind that Bob O'Haver founded Graymatterhost.com. O'Haver and his crew (which consists of local contractors including Web designers) create easy-to-use websites for small companies nationwide as well as in the Berkshires (Peter Fasano fabric and wallcoverings and the Berkshire Film Commission to name two).

In addition to its web services, Graymatterhost is also completely solar-powered. This combination of business and Earth-friendly service recently earned the company two awards, Best Small Biz Host by BestHosting101.com and Best Non-Profit Host by WebHostRanking.com.

"We literally have hundreds of Word Press sites for contractors, stores, churches, photographers, both locally and nationally," O'Haver said in a phone interview. "We set people up with Constant Contact and email and links and PayPal for nonprofits to be able to collect money. It's very vertical, though, what we're doing, and it's a broad range of what we offer. We make it easy for our clients by assessing their needs. That was the reason I chose to put my face on the website. It's really rare to be able to connect with people behind the screen."

Putting a face to a screen is just one way in which O'Haver hopes to continue to make Graymatterhost an approachable entity, particularly in the local community. Julie Brady, co-founder of Awaken Healing Arts in Sheffield, has been using Graymatterhost for nearly seven years, both to manage several businesses and to maintain a blog.

"He's always made things very easy to understand and he respects that I need to have creative license," Brady said in a phone interview. "It worked on a technical end and he was able to make the website intuitive. I also went to him because it was important for me to have the website be solar-powered. Right now, the website is functioning really well. I update it several times a month and we really look forward to taking the site a little further."

As many of his clients' businesses continue to grow, O'Haver said that he is shifting Graymatterhost's focus to accommodate this growth and some recent changes made by Google.

"Google recently changed so that now it lowers the rankings of site with reused content," he said. "Now everybody has to deal with their website every day or they are going to fall off the page. Who looks past the first page when they are searching? What we're finding is that everybody's got a job in a small business, and they don't have time to be updating their website on a regular basis. But we can do that. And hopefully this will bring more businesses to the Berkshires and give them more options. That would completely change the landscape of this place."
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Berkshires Beat: Local Community Radio Station WBCR Goes Live

Going live

Berkshire Radio Community Alliance is now broadcasting live from its new location on Main Street in Great Barrington. Passersby will now be treated to both veteran and newly trained volunteer programmers and their guests appearing “front and center” in the station’s storefront window. There, the resurrected and much-loved on-air mixing board’s red and yellow lights are lit to affirm that 97.7FM has come alive again.

"Live" programming — as differentiated from automated music and syndicated shows — requires a specialized, direct connection from the station's fully integrated, on-air mixing board at 320 Main St. to the radio tower atop Fairview Hospital. Since the community radio group left the Rosseter Street location, volunteers have carefully stored the mixing board and other valuable equipment, and have kept automated programming going 24/7 to meet FCC regulations, in anticipation of this day. 

Proceeds from BCRA's successful 2019 Kickstarter campaign have provided steady source of income to cover overhead and new equipment purchases while the technical team jumped the hurdles at the new location. Training has begun at the studio for both veteran and new programmers with little or no radio experience, resulting in a diverse selection of new shows throughout the week.

BCRA members recently elected a new slate of board members who bring a diversity of talent and experience — and a passion for the medium of radio and audio in all its modern forms. The new board will steer the station through its current transition to Main Street and into the future. The long-term vision for the station includes becoming a podcast training and production hub for audio creation, broadcasting live and local performances, upgrading the studio to include one or two additional audio “pods” for taping and editing radio shows and podcasts and, eventually, buying a building to house BCRA for decades to come.

BCRA welcomes new programmers to submit their application online. Station leadership also encourages membership donations as live programming ramps up, to cover the cost of upgrades to equipment and day-to-day operations. Visit the website to donate.

 

Giving back

Andrew Brown of North Adams, an Eagle Scout with Troop 38 in Adams, is helping out during the pandemic. He has made two trips to the Veterans Food Bank to help refill their dwindling stock at North Adams City Hall. He has been to Sweetbrook Nursing Home to deliver playing cards, word search books, and U.S. window flags for the veterans there and to thank them for their service to our country. 

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