Member in the Spotlight: Pelle Matla of Den Haag FM

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Introducing Pelle Matla from Den Haag FM, the vibrant local broadcaster bringing the city's stories to life. Broadcasting from their lively studio at Tribes The Hague, Den Haag FM is the go-to destination for news, culture, sports, and compelling human interest stories. As Station Manager, Pelle shares how the station centers the community at the heart of their programming, reflects on memorable moments of going global, and discusses their ongoing mission to continue captivating audiences in this exciting interview!

Hi Pelle! Could you tell us about Den Haag FM and your role as Station Manager?

Sure! Den Haag FM is the local public broadcast company of The Hague. Our team consists of professional journalists and presenters and we have a large team of volunteer program makers. All in all 60 wonderful and committed people.

Every day we provide news and background stories from the city on our website denhaagfm.nl and on our app. Political news from city hall, human interest, culture, sports, everything can be read and listened to with us. Every day we also broadcast programs on the radio, which you can also listen to online. From talk shows to sports and of course with lots of great music. And on our TV channel we broadcast the Hague TV News and other programs every hour.

As a station manager, I ensure that the broadcaster as a company can function properly. That is a very broad, challenging and rewarding task! The journalistic direction is in the hands of my colleague Maarten Brakema.

What inspired you to join the broadcasting world, and what do you enjoy the most about it?

My career started as a journalist for Dutch newspapers, but I have always found radio a fascinating medium. Later I became a reporter for various radio stations: Radio Netherlands Worldwide, and Omroep West, the regional broadcast company and a very important partner of Den Haag FM. Listening to the radio or to a podcast is so fascinating! Because as a listener you are, as we speak, involved in the event you hear: you sit in the studio with the presenter, you walk with the reporter in a demonstration. Your imagination fills in the images itself, that's what I love about this medium.

Community engagement is important for a local radio station, how does Den Haag FM connect with its listeners?

That is indeed very important for a public local broadcaster. First of all, we are visible in the city with our studio in the city center of The Hague. People can see and hear the presenters at work there, and talk to editors if they want. In addition, our reporters go into neighborhoods to produce stories. We call these 'stories with a face', because we want to give the residents of The Hague a face to what they experience in their district or neighborhood. Recently, a 'community builder' even started working for Den Haag FM. The aim is to make the broadcaster more known to residents, so that they can find us with stories. Finally, we make our transmitter available to enthusiastic radio makers from The Hague who want to voluntarily present a program. This is very important to involve residents in broadcasting.

Can you share a memorable moment from your time managing the radio station?

Of course! One of the most memorable moments last year was an interview with Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Den Haag FM radio. At the end of October, he was a guest in Spuigasten, our weekly Saturdays talk show on politics. The interviewer was Mr Ron Fresen, a retired but renowned political journalist, who analysed political developments in the Netherlands for years on national television. He is now a volunteering presenter at Den Haag FM. Rutte, as a resident of The Hague, came to Spuigasten to talk about his political career and ambitions. Asked whether he had any international ambitions, he answered that NATO secretary general would be an interesting option. That quote became world news! Within ours, national and international news wires picked up the story that was spread as far as Malaysia! Of course, we are still very proud that a local radio station as Den Haag FM is able to break the international news.

© Den Haag FM

We're thrilled to have you with us at Tribes The Hague! What influenced your choice to join Tribes?

Thank you so much. Actually, this is a pleasant coincidence. Normally we broadcast from the Central Library at the Spui. But because of activities outside the library that cause noise pollution, we had to look for a temporary, alternative location somewhere nearby. The municipality helped us with our search, and that's how we ended up at Tribes. We are very happy that we now have our city studio here. It is in the heart of The Hague, we are easily accessible for our guests, and we are visible from the street. Inside we have a nice corner where our studio table is, with cameras, lamps and good workplaces for our journalists. Most of all, the Tribes staff is very kind and helpful. And the coffee is great!

Finally, what does the future hold for Den Haag FM?

Our deepest wish is to remain the local broadcaster for all residents of The Hague. It doesn't matter where you were born, where you live, what your background is – you can come to us if you have a story to share. We are working hard with all employees to professionalize: better journalism, better online stories, better programs. The Hague is the third largest city in the Netherlands and there is a lot going on! Then the city would benefit from a professional local broadcaster. Recognizable, connecting, and okay, also a bit cheeky!

Take a look on our website here: www.denhaagfm.nl (articles may be read in English and other languages by clicking on the flag symbol)

Thank you, Pelle!

Don’t forget to tune in to Den Haag FM or visit Tribes The Hague to see the live broadcast!

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