If there is one thing about the new media landscape that hurts the most, it’s been the demise of local radio. When done well, it’s an art form. When done by corporations- it’s a failure of magnanimous proportions.

If you listen to the gurus of our economic destiny- you’ll keep hearing that small business is our real economic engine, yet- except for the Internet and Google with their adwords, big media has pushed small business away for years.

What brought this to mind was the very first example in “The Art of Client Service” by Robert Solomon. It’s in the introduction- not even one of the “58 Things every advertising and marketing professional should know” that’s made the book a classic in the business. He describes the handing off of a client from one rep to another. In the umpteen corporate “reorganizations” and new “Sales Managers” grand plans to make Clear Channel somehow better- they forgot about the customer. The one who has a relationship- face to face with the people who buy their product.

It’s not just the radio station, the newspaper does the same thing as do the television stations and the cable companies. Some genius forgets that business is built with interpersonal relationships- and that you can’t change them without the consent of both parties. Good relationships aren’t arranged marriages, but the result of building trust over time.

Your bottom line will only be as good as your front line- the relationship between your company and your customers isn’t created in a board meeting or at corporate HQ, it’s forged by your sales people who press the flesh and write the orders and bag the groceries.

It’s in how you deliver your product or service, with a personal touch. Small business still understands- big business, doesn’t.