Spain's Top 40 radio network Los 40 Principales already controls more than 600 stations in eight Latin American countries, but aims to lead the format in all Spanish-speaking countries in the region, plus the Latin market in the United States.

Los 40 Principales is holding its third Premios 40 Principales award gala in Madrid's 15,000-capacity Sports Pavilion on Dec. 11. By mid-November, more than 400,000 Latin American fans had voted by email for the best artist award in each of the eight countries. Spain has seven awards, and Los 40 expects that by the day of the gala, some 1 million fans will have voted.

The gala's impressive line-up includes Robbie Williams, Shakira, Nelly Furtado, James Morrison, Mika, Paulina Rubio, La 5ª Estacion, Carlos Baute and Marta Sanchez, and David Bisbal.

Los 40 Principales is Spain's most popular music network with more than 4 million daily listeners, according to media survey group Estudio General de Medios (EGM). It is part of the Cadena SER radio group, which in turn belongs to the brand Unión Radio (UR), which is a division of the country's largest media holding, Grupo Prisa. SER has five national radio music networks, controlling about 80% of music radio in Spain.

Unión Radio says it has nearly 10 million listeners in Latin America, including an unknown number in the United States (Florida and California) through GLR Networks. These include 6.2 million in Colombia, 1.8 million in Chile, 800,000 in Mexico, and 770,000 in Argentina. Audiences in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala and Panama are considerably smaller.

All of Argentina's Union Radio audience listens to the Los 40 top 40 format. In Colombia, Los 40 accounts for 987,000 of the total audience of 6.2 million; in Chile, 208,000 of the 1.8 million; in Mexico, 418,000 of the 800,000. The Los 40 audience in Costa Rica is 62,000.

UR music director Luis Merino says UR's aim is "to head the top 40 format in music radio for the 14-24 audience age bracket in all Spanish-speaking countries." He says that next year UR plans to expand into Peru, Venezuela and the U.S., where it aims to purchase stations in Latin regions.

"Unión Radio wants to develop a multi-format musical radio project in all of Latin America, based on the Spanish model where we have 40 TV, the 40 Revista music magazine, and so on, as well as a line of news/talk radio, that together capture the same spirit that has given leadership in Spain (Cadena SER) and Colombia (Radio Caracol), with an important presence in Mexico (W Radio), Chile (AND) and Argentina (Continental)," Merino adds.

Best artist nominations per country for the Premios 40 Principales gala are:

Fidel Nadal

Chancho En Piedra
Kata Palacios
Movimiento Original
ZK y Crac MC

Andrés Cepeda
Mauricio y Palodeagua
Fanny Lu
Santiago Cruz

Costa Rica
Esteban Calderón
El Parque

Fausto Miño
Israel Brito
Mirela Cesa
Daniel Betancour
Xuaxa Kinas

Viento En Contra
Duo Sway
El Clubo
Bohemia Suburbana

Ximena Sariñana
Paulina Rubio
Gloria Trevi
Jot Dog

Ivan Barrios
Alejandro Largota
Mario Spinalli