'Today' audience grows by a million

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The audience for BBC Radio 4's Today programme increased by a million after the 11 September attacks on America, figures revealed yesterday.

Just under seven million people listened to the morning show during the last quarter of last year while the Allied forces were hunting Osama bin Laden. The 5 Live Breakfast show also did well, attracting record audiences of 2.5 million.

The successes were among record-breaking Rajar audience figures being celebrated by BBC Radio as it extended its lead over commercial stations.

Radio 4 had its best quarter for three years, and Radio 5 Live enjoyed its best share of the market in its seven-year history, with 6.2 million listeners a week.Sport on 5 also performed well and figures improved for Radio 4's comedy programmes and The Archers.

Radio 2 increased its dominance of the market, adding 1.6 million new listeners in the past year to reach 12.3 million, another record. The Terry Wogan Show remained the biggest breakfast draw among the adult population, with an audience of 7.2 million.

Jenny Abramsky, the BBC's director of radio and music, said: "In troubled times people turn to the BBC for news."

Classic FM had a record audience of 6.7 million, making it the UK's largest commercial radio station.