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Radio Pulls Fish Commercial After Listeners Object

February 8, 1989

BOSTON (AP) _ Objections from listeners in heavily Catholic Boston prompted a radio station to pull a commercial for frozen seafood dinners featuring an actress playing a Roman Catholic nun confessing to a ″priest.″

″On a personal level, I felt it was a very creative commercial,″ said Tyler Cox, program manager at WBZ-AM, which pulled the ad last week after several plays.

Cox said a ″moderate″ number of listeners called the station, which has a primary audience ages 40 to 50, and were quite vocal in insisting the commercial be taken off the air.

″There’s a very large Catholic base in Boston, which makes up a sizable percentage of our listening audience,″ Cox said.

The 30-second spot for Booth Seafood Products’ frozen entrees is titled ″Confession,″ and debuted nationally Jan. 23. It has aired on 11 Boston radio stations.

″We did not, definitely, try to single out Catholics, or in any way demean the Catholic religion,″ said Michael Yurchesyn, marketing manager for National Sea Products Inc. and its Booth subsidiary.

″We got one or two complaints from Denver and Kansas City,″ he said, ″but I think we got more complaints in the Boston area than anywhere else.″

In part of the commercial, ″Sister Catherine″ confesses to ″Father Callahan″ that she has ″gone back to eating fish on Friday.″

″We stopped that in the ’60s,″ ″Father Callahan″ says.

″But Booth frozen seafood is so good.″

″Do you find frozen seafood tempting, sister?″

Yurchesyn and Paul Klein of North Castle Partners, the Stamford, Conn., agency that created the commercial, said preliminary market research predicted possible backlash.

But Klein said since it helps focus attention on the ad, ″the controversy’s not necessarily bad.″

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