Radio Bremen began transmitting a daily programme on AM radio on 23 December 1945 under the post-war occupation of Germany by the Allied powers. Although located in an enclave entirely surrounded by the British Zone of occupation, the city of Bremen belonged, together with Bremerhaven, to the American Zone, and radio broadcasting was therefore overseen by the American command. In 1949 Radio Bremen was chartered to be the public-law broadcaster serving the city-state Free Hanseatic City of Bremen and became a founding member of ARD in 1950.
Licensing fees required for radio and TV sets are €17.03 per month, as of 1 April 2005. For radio reception alone, the monthly fee is €5.52 These fees are not collected directly by Radio Bremen but by the GEZ that is a common organisation of ARD, its members, ZDF and Deutschlandfunk.
Radio Bremen produces and provides programmes for the nationwide television network "Das Erste" (The First).
Radio Bremen, together with NDR and the former SFB, began to broadcast on a regional network on 4 January 1965. The name of the network was originally "Nord 3" ("North 3"), later renamed "Norddeutsches Fernsehen N 3" ("North German Television N3"). Since December 2001 the network is known as "NDR Fernsehen" ("North German Broadcasting: Television"). As of that change, and until 2005, productions of Radio Bremen carry their own logo, when transmitted on the network.
On 1 January 2005 Radio Bremen began to broadcast its own regional station: "Radio Bremen TV" (RB-TV). Besides the regional programming there continues to be cooperation with NDR.
Radio Bremen and NDR produce a combined teletext service called NDR-Text. Until December 2001 it was known by the name "Nord-Text" ("North-Text").
Radio Bremen maintains and transmits on two radio networks. These are known as "Bremen Eins" (Bremen One) and "Bremen Vier" (Bremen Four). Programming on Bremen One consists mostly of oldies, geared to adults, and includes daily news in the local dialect, known as "Bremer Platt". Programming on Bremen Four consists of current hits, geared to the present day youth.
Radio Bremen also produces two other programmes together with other public broadcasters: Nordwestradio (Northwest radio) is produced in conjunction with NDR, and Funkhaus Europa is produced with WDR.