The station came into service in 1968 to improve coverage of BBC 2 to the Edinburgh area, which has a number of hills blocking good reception from Black Hill. In September 1971 it also started broadcasting BBC1 and STV on 625 lines in colour and though considered a 'main' station, it actually rebroadcast the signal from Black Hill, like a relay. Nowadays its tower also carries antennas for many broadcasting and private radio organisations. This structure was previously used at Emley Moor.
The transmitter was originally an A group but has become a K group (or wideband) with the advent of Channel 5 and Digital. Craigkelly is one of the few main transmitters which didn't return to its original group at DSO. In fact after the switchover even less of its Digital output is receivable on an A group aerial than before. The three PSB multiplexes are still receivable on an A group as this graph shows.
The tower can be clearly seen from many parts of Edinburgh across the Firth of Forth on its prominent position atop the hill known as The Binn.