The radio station was launched in 1970 under the name of BBC Radio Medway, originally only serving the Medway Towns. It broadcast from studios at 30 High Street in Chatham, a former newspaper office which was subsequently named Media House.
The station gained its current name when operations expanded to Kent on 2 July 1983 as part of the BBC's policy of operating countywide stations. Radio Medway was closed down by long serving staff member Rod Lucas, who was also the first voice to be heard on the new BBC Radio Kent.
In July 1986, the studios moved to the nearby Sun Pier, from where it broadcast in stereo for the first time.
In 2001, the station moved to The Great Hall in Royal Tunbridge Wells, to combine with new television studios for the BBC South East region covering Kent and Sussex. From here BBC Radio Kent operates a total of four studios - two for programmes, one for news bulletins, and one network contributions area.
BBC Radio Kent also operates a studio and office in The Wendy House (a building close to the original Sun Pier site in Chatham), and small contributions studios in Dover and Canterbury.
BBC Radio Kent averages around 200,000 listeners a week, and is regularly the most popular local radio station in Kent, with its Breakfast and Drive programmes among the most popular.
The majority of the station's programming is produced and broadcast from Tunbridge Wells. During off-peak hours, BBC Radio Kent also carries regional programming for the South, South East and East regions, including some of its own weekend output. As with all BBC Local Radio stations, it also airs the networked weekday evening shows, originating from BBC Radio Leeds and produced independently by Wire Free Productions. During the station's downtime, BBC Radio Kent simulcasts BBC Radio 5 Live overnight.