As a record 91 per cent tune in, how wireless has transcended the hi-tech avalanche

It has been dismissed as too old-fashioned to keep up with the demands of the modern world.

But Britons are listening to more radio than ever with a record 91.7 per cent of the country tuning in every week.

This is the highest figure since records began in 1999, according to audience measurement body Rajar.

Radio enthusiasts: Britons are listening to more radio than ever

Radio enthusiasts: Britons are listening to more radio than ever

Serious world news events such as the economic downturn and the Arab Spring are driving listeners to the radio despite the attractions of a plethora of hi-tech alternatives such as social networking sites.

BBC Radio 4 registered record figures for its biggest shows – and an all-time high of almost 11million listeners a week, in the three months to June.

Its flagship Today programme put on more than 150,000 listeners in the second quarter of 2011 compared with the previous three months and now has a weekly reach of 7.2million.

Radio 4’s most popular serial, The Archers, is listened to by almost 5.1million people a week – a figure many TV dramas would envy.

The Today programme’s success comes at a time when more light-hearted rivals are losing listeners.

We're listening to more radio in the recession

Chris Evans’s breakfast show on Radio 2 lost around half-a-million in the second quarter, falling to 8.6million, and Chris Moyles on Radio 1 lost 100,000.

But the breakfast show on Radio Five Live pulled in 2.9million listeners, up from 2.7million in the first quarter.

And Vanessa Feltz, who took over from Sarah Kennedy on Radio 2’s early show, helped it to get more than two million listeners a week for the first time.

Radio 4’s PM programme, the World at One and Woman’s Hour all added tens of thousands of listeners.

Radio 4 Extra, which was rebranded from Radio 7 in April, increased its audience to 1.61million from 1.16million.

The boom in radio listening was also due to a more buoyant commercial sector, with Talksport achieving a weekly audience of 3.2million.

Ironically, radio has been boosted by the growth of technology.

Mobile phones, iPods, digital television, computers and ‘listen again’ services have all made the traditional medium more accessible.

Meanwhile, we are still a nation of television addicts despite the internet which was predicted to kill off viewing.

TV viewing is at a ten-year high with the average person now watching four hours a day, according to Ofcom.

Industry watchers say the recession means more people are staying home for entertainment.

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