The station was originally commissioned by the Independent Television Authority to bring ITV signals (provided by Border Television) to Northern Cumbria and South West Scotland, including Carlisle and Dumfries on 405-lineVHF, using Channel 11 (Band III). Constructed in 1961, it originally included a 306.6 metres (1,006 ft) tall guyed steel lattice mast that came into service on 1 September of that year. The BBC's VHF television and radio services were carried by the nearby Sandale transmitting station. 405 line television was discontinued in the UK in 1985.
When UHF television started in the UK in 1969, Caldbeck was selected to carry all the UHF services for the area. The original three channel line-up came into service in September 1971. Channel 4 began from Caldbeck from its launch in November 1982.
Caldbeck was one of the first transmitters in the UK to be upgraded to high power digital only TV broadcasting. The Digital Switchover took place between June & July 2009. At this time, the analogue signal was permanently switched off. Extra multiplexes for BBC Scotland and ITV Border (Scotland) were added to the transmitter at the time.
Caldbeck underwent major engineering work to accommodate the new transmitters and aerials. The work entailed complete replacement of the existing mast with a brand new 337 metre mast, work on which began on 26 April 2007. Construction of the new mast structure was completed at the beginning of March 2008. Once installation of the transmitting aerials on the new mast was complete, the old one was dismantled.