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Subject: Voice of the Listener and Viewer founder Jocelyn Hay dies

Written By: Philip Eno on 01/23/14 at 6:02 am

Jocelyn Hay, who founded respected pressure group Voice Of The Listener And Viewer (VLV), has died aged 86.

Hay founded the campaign group in 1983 as a voice for radio listeners, in response to a proposal by BBC managing director Richard Francis to change Radio 4 into an all-news network.

She remained its president until her death on Tuesday.

As radio's unsung champion, Hay was made a CBE in 2005 for services to broadcasting.

Announcing her death, the VLV said she had built the organisation into "the United Kingdom's main consumer voice on issues affecting public service broadcasting and quality and diversity in radio and television programming".

"Jocelyn was an inspiration to all of us," said Colin Browne, chairman of the VLV.

"Through her own strength of personality and strong convictions, and by gaining the respect of politicians and media executives, she helped to ensure that the views of listeners and viewers were listened to by decision-makers across the industry.

"She had remained active and involved in the organisation until very recently. My colleagues and I will miss her hugely; but our thoughts at this time are primarily with her family, to whom we send our most sincere condolences."


Hay, who has two daughters, was the widow of a former Army officer.

In the early stages of her career, she worked as a writer and broadcaster, as well as spending time working in public relations, before founding the Voice of the Listener in 1983.

The non-political organisation, which is made up of some 1,500 members, changed its name to include 'And Viewer' in 1991.

As well as an MBE and CBE, Hay was honoured with a European Women Of Achievement Award for her work; she went on to become president of the European Alliance of Listeners' & Viewers' Associations for 12 years.

She was widely admired for her dogged determination to defend viewers' interests.

"For a huge number of people, their only leisure activity and relaxation is to watch something on the box at home at the end of the day's work," she told the BBC in an interview in 2006.

"VLV views with great concern the relaxation in regulation in many areas, particularly to do with advertising, sponsorship, product placement."

"Once you break the trust that viewers have in the broadcasters, you'll never get it back again. That trust is a very, very precious commodity.

The BBC's director general Lord Hall said: "Jocelyn Hay had a huge impact on broadcasting in this country.

"She never stopped campaigning for better quality programmes and for all broadcasters to put their audiences first.

"She always believed it was every broadcaster's duty to make engaging programmes that captured the public's imagination. She will be much missed."

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