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CBS Board Game From the 1930s Highlights Golden Age of Radio

What can you tell us about this little nugget of radio history?

Hey radio history fans! Can any of you share a story behind this great find?

Steve Moravec, president of Phoenix Media Group in St. Paul, Minn., circulated this photo in his weekly “Monday Morning Memorabilia” email. 

“This ’30s vintage board game promoted the radio stations of the Columbia Broadcasting System across the country,” he writes. “The goal seems to be to ‘touch ’em all’ with the game pieces, which appear uncut in the attachment.”

He found it on eBay; here’s the listing with more photos. 

(Click to enlarge)

Credit: eBay listing photo

The early days of wireless, ship-to-shore and modern broadcast radio produced a number of radio board games. For example, online auction and history sites turn up “Listen In: The Great Wireless Game”; also “Radio Game,” published in 1920 by Milton Bradley (more pix here); and a “Radio Game for Little Folks,” from the mid-1920s. You can find photos of more on sites like Play Things of Past.

But we Googled around to see if the internet had any more information about this sweet little CBS nugget in particular.

We only found one item in our brief search: Heritage Auctions carried a listing for one in 2013; see it here

They described this as an “unusual mail order premium consisting of paper game board with a cut-out section of game pieces and markers.”

The object of the game, it appears, was to travel WABC in New York to KNX in Los Angeles. You had to complete a trip over the entire network to win. In the case of the 2013 auction, the game pieces had been carefully cut and were included with the board, which has an approximate playing area size of 16.5 x 12.5 inches. 

“There are four playing pieces (one with folding instructions still attached) and 14 mini game cards.”

If you know anything more about this fun CBS giveaway or about the history of such games being used as station promotions during radio’s Golden Age, drop us a line to [email protected]

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