Meet Our Team

Brenda Brkusic

Senior Director of Program Development & Executive Producer of National Productions
Brenda Brkusic is an Emmy Award-winning television producer and a seasoned television executive with over 15 years of experience in program development and production. Brkusic is responsible for directing PBS SoCal’s development, production, and distribution of quality programs and series for national broadcast on public television. Previously, she was a producer for PBS SoCal’s Emmy Award-winning nightly news program and she also spearheaded a new TV channel for the station, and was the driving force behind the acquisition and development of thousands of programs and series. She has won 8 Emmy Awards, 3 CINE Golden Eagle Awards, 8 Telly Awards and 2 Golden Mike Awards, and her work has been honored by US Congress and the European Parliament. Brkusic is the LA Area Governor for the Television Academy’s Board of Governors and she also serves on the Television Academy’s L.A. Area Executive Committee and is a member of the Television Executives Peer Group. She is a member of the Producers Guild of America and a member of the Executive Committee for the National Educational Telecommunications Association. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Film and Television Production from Chapman University.

Maria Hall-Brown

Executive Producer, Arts and Cultural Programming
Maria Hall-Brown joined PBS SoCal in July of 1997. She is the Executive Producer for Arts and Cultural Programming, and the producer/host of the weekly program LAaRT. In addition, she recently produced the first documentary film about cultural visionary/philanthropist, Henry T. Segerstrom: Imagining the Future. Other documentaries include: Be Brave: Samantha’s Story, Matters of Faith, Bulgarian Rhapsody, and Notes from Europe, as well as many holiday specials. For 16 years Maria worked as producer/reporter for the nightly news program Real Orange and the producer/host of author interview series Bookmark. She has garnered two Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards and six Golden Mike Awards by the Radio & Television News Association for her work.

Maura Daly Phinney

Vice President, Membership and On-Air Fundraising
Executive Producer, Fundraising Programs

With more than 25 years of experience in public television and radio, Phinney oversees all membership fundraising efforts – on-air, online and direct mail. She also oversees development of national and local fundraising programs produced for PBS SoCal. She has produced over 200 programs for public television including many music specials like, Tommy Emmanuel and Friends: Live from the Balboa and A Salute to Vienna. Phinney has won numerous awards including an Emmy and several Telly awards. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California at Berkeley. Before joining PBS SoCal, Phinney held a variety of fundraising and production positions at WETA in Washington D.C., KQED in San Francisco and KPBS in San Diego.

Michelle Merker

Program Development Manager Michelle Merker has spent 20-plus years working in the Los Angeles market in both television and radio as a news director, writer, producer and talent. She has also written and produced both network and syndicated programs, and has acted as freelance talent on TV, radio and corporate projects. Michelle has also helped advance the careers of many in the business, working in southern California as a TV, radio and film instructor. She has won numerous awards for her programs including 3 Emmy Awards, the Golden Mike Award, several Telly Awards and the CINE Golden Eagle Award.