He wants everything spot on

I Work For... Louise Maving works for Jim Graham, chairman of Border Television
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The Independent Online

Jim says that just because we're a local television station in Carlisle does not mean we have to think local - we need to think global. And he lives by his words. He's always travelling the world.

Jim says that just because we're a local television station in Carlisle does not mean we have to think local - we need to think global. And he lives by his words. He's always travelling the world.

Recently, he went to the Edinburgh Television Festival, then flew to Rome for a night to be at the planning meeting of the Prix Italia awards. These reward the best television and radio output from 50 countries, and Jim is president of the association. He came back from Rome to Glasgow for a meeting with our regulator, the Independent Television Commission.

This month he'll be spending two weeks in Bologna for the Prix Italia event itself, and in the next monthhe hopes to speak at the Public Broadcasting International conference in Cape Town. In November, he'll be chairing a debate at the United Nations forum in New York on the convergence of new technologies. And in February he's off to Delhi as chairman of the Millennium Trust for Health and Wellbeing in the Arts.

So it goes on. He's turned me into an international PA, because a big part of my job now is dealing with countries all round the world. But I enjoy organising travel, which is just as well. I give Jim incredibly detailed instructions. He has what we call "evacuee sheets" that list everything; "Get in car, go to airport" and so on. Jim says without them he wouldn't have a clue where he was going. I sometimes think I should put a label round his neck saying, "Please return to Carlisle if lost".

He keeps in touch with me all the time when he's out of the office. He's embraced technology and is always on his mobile, or e-mailing from his laptop. As a boss, he's quite high-maintenance. He's a perfectionist and everything has to be spot-on. It's nothing for him to draft and redraft a letter several times. If he walks into the building and there's a box waiting to be collected or any mess, he's not pleased. He doesn't lose his temper, but I've learnt what irritates him, so I try to make sure things are the way he likes them.

Last year we organised two dinners, with about 60 people at each. Jim and I planned them down to the most minute detail. "Go over everything that could possibly go wrong and expect the unexpected." That's Jim's attitude. One of the functions was for Scottish television companies and politicians. Politics plays more of a role in television now. Jim enjoys the political side of his work and I think if he hadn't been in television, he would have made a very good diplomat.

Devolution has made a big difference to us. We have a dedicated reporter at the Edinburgh Parliament, and we emphasise the importance of our Scottish coverage. Our region covers from Peebles and Stranraer to the Cumbrian-Lancashire border, and the Isle of Man. We have to make sure we give our audiences what they want. We split our signal and broadcast Scottish news to Scotland, English local news to England, and Manx news to the Isle of Man.

We were recently taken over by Capital Radio, with an option to be bought within three years by Granada Television. We tried to remain independent, but we couldn't fight it any more. Next year would have been our 40th year as an independent broadcaster. But at least we managed to avoid the hostile takeover bid from Scottish Radio Holdings earlier this year.

We're proud of our programming at Border. One of my favourites is Lookaround, the news programme. It's the most popular local news show in Britain, and gets 50 per cent audience share in the region. Ironically, since I started working here I'm never home in time to watch it. I do have a television in the office but I rarely have time to turn it on. Jim likes to keep up with what's being broadcast and takes home tapes of the programmes, to watch in his spare time. When he can, Jim will go skiing, which he loves. I used to be a ski instructor in Austria so we share a love of the mountains. He has invited my husband and I to his new flat in Whistler, British Columbia, which is generous. But that's Jim. He always brings me a present from his travels, and my two-year-old, Alexander, has a huge collection of T-shirts from around the world.

Jim always explains to me what's going on, and why he's doing things. It makes the job much more interesting, because I can understand the background to events.

He likes me to take responsibility, for example taking the minutes of the board meetings, which can be quite nerve-racking. Everyone round the table is an expert in their field, and I have to try to follow what they're saying. It's quite a high-pressure job, but I do love it. And I really like being in the centre of things - that's exciting.

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