The station launched as "Radio Bedfordshire" on 24 June 1985, serving the whole of Bedfordshire plus (despite the name) North Bucks and the northern parts of Hertfordshire. Therefore, as well as Luton and Bedford (and the rest of Bedfordshire), Milton Keynes, Hemel Hempstead, Harpenden,Aylesbury, St Albans, Welwyn Garden City, Letchworth, Stevenage and Hitchin were served by the new station. In 1992 the station became known as "BBC Radio Bedfordshire with Herts and Bucks".
The station changed to its present name on 5 April 1993. The new name was intended to reflect the wider reach across the three counties and to give equal service to all. The editorial area was not, at that point, expanded but enhanced studio facilities and staff were devoted to Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.
New transmitters at Epping Green and Bedmond extended the coverage to Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield and west Hertfordshire in late 2005. The whole of Buckinghamshire is also now covered, including High Wycombe, Aylesbury and Denham.
BBC Three Counties Radio have studios at Willen in Milton Keynes and have produced separate[clarification needed] breakfast shows since October 2001. With the opening of new transmitters in Buckinghamshire, the Milton Keynes opt-outs were extended across the whole county, with a separate drivetime show from November 2004 until October 2005, before producing the separate lunchtime programme which ended in February 2007 with a revamp of the schedule. The Buckinghamshire opt-out was scaled back to a breakfast show for Milton Keynes only, Morning MK with Helen Legh. The studio at Willen was also host to Phil Lack's early breakfast until late 2009. In September 2012, Morning MK was axed and replaced with a breakfast show for Beds, Herts and Bucks from BBC 3CR in Luton.
Since a schedule change in early 2011, the station has been using the BBC Local Radio generic jingles created by Mcasso Music Production
BBC Three Counties Radio broadcasts on 90.4FM (Epping Green, near Hertford), 92.1FM (Bedmond, near Hemel Hempstead), 94.7FM (Quainton Hill, near Aylesbury), 95.5FM (Sandy Heath), 98.0FM (High Wycombe), 103.8FM (Zouches Farm, near Luton), 104.5FM (Bow Brickhill, near Milton Keynes), 630 kHz MW (Lewsey Farm, near Luton), 1161 kHz (Kempston, near Bedford), and streaming from the BBC 3CR website. BBC 3CR is also carried only the Herts, Beds and Bucks digital radio multiplex, transmitted from Sandy Heath, Epping Green, Zouches Farm and Bow Brickhill. The digital radio multiplex is relayed to, and from, the English county of Northamptonshire. In Northamptonshire, digital listeners can choose between BBC 3CR and BBC Radio Northampton. In the 3CR digital service area listeners can also choose to listen to the BBC Radio Northampton service as an alternative.
The radio station can also be heard online at [www.bbc.co.uk/threecounties].
Regional programmes are broadcast on BBC Local Radio stations across the BBC East region. Saturday night programmes are also simulcast on BBC Radio Kent, while Keith Skues' Sunday evening show also airs on BBC Radio Lincolnshire.