Hall of Fame: 2020 Inductees
Friday, March 20, 2020
Sitting in their living room, childhood sweethearts Dan and Phyllis Epstein reminisce about their lives and how it’s been enriched by all that San Diego offers. The couple met in Southern California and made San Diego their home 50 years ago.
They have been KPBS listeners, viewers, and supporters for the majority of that time. “I manage to listen four hours a day,” says Dan. “When I wake up in the morning, I listen to it. When I’m in the car, I listen to it. When I come home at night and the last thing I do before I go to bed, I’m listening to KPBS.”
In addition to being keen listeners, the couple are also self proclaimed addicts to the TV shows, including American Experience, NOVA, and MASTERPIECE. Recently, they’ve expanded their support with major gifts towards the general fund and to the capital campaign, a renovation project for the KPBS building.
“To know that you can rely on the station and know that you’re getting the truth is really important to us,” emphasizes Phyllis. What does being named into the Hall of Fame mean to them? Phyllis remarks “To know that the station is honoring us is truly a great honor."
Passionate about truth, quality, and great storytelling, Pat Finn joined KPBS in 1979 as the public information director. Since then, she has held a variety of jobs, from director of programming, director of broadcasting, and producer. “I’ve had just about every job here at KPBS,” jokes Pat from within the Shiley Studios at KPBS.
Over her 40 plus years at KPBS, Pat has left her fingerprints on a variety of projects, from the PBS documentary Los Romeros: the Royal Family of the Guitar to signature news programs like KPBS Midday Edition and KPBS Roundtable. She’s witnessed a lot of changes in the industry. “I think the quality of everything we do here at KPBS is exponentially greater — everything from promotion to running a full fledged news department.”
“I was pretty astonished to be woken at midnight in Morocco by a phone call from Tom Karlo” Pat says, thinking back to when she learned of being inducted into the Hall of Fame. She says the honor is “pretty cool”.
On a whim, Sue and Steve Hart found themselves attending one of their first KPBS events back in 2013. The event featured a Downton Abbey theme, complete with costumed attendees, character look-alikes, and Edwardian era props. “We had such a blast,” grins Sue Hart. “We thought everyone at the gathering was so warm and welcoming. We decided it was a nice group of people and we wanted to get to know them better.”
The couple met in 1979 at UCSD as graduate students in mathematics. They’ve been in San Diego ever since. After graduation, Steve pursued a career in engineering at Linkabit and later co-founded Viasat. So it’s no wonder why Steve has such a keen interest in KPBS’ digital communications, networking, and engineering infrastructure. Sue grew up watching MASTERPIECE and continues to enjoy the series.
Nowadays, both find themselves listening more and more to the news and information programming on KPBS. “I can always trust them to tell the truth,” says Sue about KPBS. “I think that’s especially important in this day and age.”
Thanks to a major gift from the Harts, KPBS was able to secure a satellite truck to support live, on scene reporting from throughout the region. The Harts have also donated to the station’s capital campaign and The MASTERPIECE Trust, ensuring funding for the national series while also supporting KPBS.
Previous KPBS Hall of Fame honorees include such local philanthropists as Joan and Irwin Jacobs, Conrad Prebys, Audrey Geisel, and founder Ken Jones among others. Steve considers that group and says, “If you look at the people who have gotten it, it’s very much an honor.”
About the KPBS Hall of Fame
Created in 2010, the KPBS Hall of Fame honors individuals and families who have made significant contributions to the station through their work, philanthropy, and leadership. Honorees are acknowledged in two possible categories: Lifetime Achievement and Visionary.
Lifetime Achievement honorees are former staff whose work set new standards for public media. Past honorees include KPBS founder Ken Jones, former political correspondent Gloria Penner, and About San Diego host Ken Kramer.
The Visionaries are generous supporters and leaders whose commitment helps KPBS advance its mission and service to the community. Past Visionary honorees include MASTERPIECE Trust donor Darlene Shiley, major donors to the KPBS Newsroom Joan and Irwin Jacobs, and past SDSU President Stephen Weber and Susan Weber.
Learn more about the KPBS Hall of Fame and explore past honorees.
Visit our photo gallery honoring all the Hall of Fame Inductees.
To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.