Meet Our Team

Steve Purcell

Sr. Vice President of Content and Distribution
Purcell is a Grammy, National Emmy and Cable Ace award winning producer-director-editor with more than 30 years of production experience. As Senior Vice President of Content and Distribution, he is responsible for oversight of production and distribution of PBS SoCal’s local programs, as well as content produced here for national distribution across the PBS system.

Purcell has held roles at Warner Home Video, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, NBC Universal Media, The Walt Disney Company and CBS. He is credited with hundreds of concert films, music videos, TV music specials and feature films throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. For public television he has directed and or produced a number of programs including: Proclamation of Hope from the Kennedy Center; Keyboard Conversations; Zade: One Night in Jordan – A Concert for Peace; Yanni: Voices – Live from the Forum in Acapulco; The Horsemen Cometh; and Marvin Hamlisch & The Pittsburgh Pops. He taught production at Syracuse University and is an active member of the Directors Guild of America and The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

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 7 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 2 Emmy Awards, the Golden Mike Award, several Telly Awards and the CINE Golden Eagle Award.