Hélène Biandudi Hofer

Need to Know Host

Hélène Biandudi Hofer is host and producer of WXXI TV's Need to Know, an award-winning, half-hour weekly news and public affairs program. Hélène joined the station in September 2010 as the host of All Things Considered.

Before moving to Rochester, Hélène worked at the CBS Primetime show 48 Hours Mystery in New York City. While at CBS she contributed to several documentary specials for the network including the tragedy at Virginia Tech, the tribute to news icon Walter Cronkite, the inauguration of Barack Obama and the CBS/VOGUE Fashion’s Night Out program.

Hélène is a graduate of New York University’s Broadcast Journalism program. After graduation, she returned to her hometown, Columbus, Ohio, where she worked as an associate producer for WBNS-TV.

Ways to Connect

Teen Empowerment

It’s an issue surrounded by controversy throughout the United States - the presence of law enforcement in schools. On this edition of Need to Know we examine the role of School Resource Officers which is intended to build and not divide. However, some say that role is being challenged in Rochester City Schools.

Also on the show, introducing the world of cycling to the over-55 crowd. How one local effort is helping residents improve their health and for some, reclaim their youth.

And the fight for the future of Rochester’s young people through the arts. We’ll learn the story behind a local dance theatre celebrating 35 years working with area youth.

Sasha-Ann Simons | WXXI News

Playing video games, especially violent ones, appears to increase the level of pain tolerance in some people. That’s the fascinating result following a study from researchers at the American Pain Society. I-pads and other devices are showing up in more and more hospital rooms and cancer treatment centers. So, how does it all work? The Innovation Trail’s Sasha-Ann Simons explains in this Need to Know report.

Mildred Muhammad

Mildred Muhammad is a survivor of domestic violence. You may not recognize her name, but you might be familiar with a story from back in 2002 of a man referred to as “The D.C. Sniper.” That man, John Allen Muhammad, was Mildred’s former husband. He and a teen accomplice shot and killed 10 people in a 3-week killing spree in the Washington D.C. area. What was later revealed was that the main target was actually Mildred and the shooting spree was part of an elaborate scheme to make it look like she was the victim of a crazed sniper. Mildred endured years of domestic violence before breaking free from her marriage. She was invited to Rochester recently by the Willow Center for Domestic Violence to share her story of survival.

Watch this Need to Know interview with author and advocate, Mildred Muhammad, and President and CEO of Willow Domestic Violence Center, Jaime Saunders.

Discovery Charter School

Students from a Rochester charter school have become experts in a niche topic over the past few months. The mission of the school is “real skills for the real world” and they’ve been working hard in preparation for a big gig on Saturday May 14th at the Seneca Park Zoo. Need to Know’s Hélène Biandudi Hofer stopped by Discovery Charter School to learn more and ended up getting schooled herself…and you will too!

The ex-wife of the man who became known as “The D.C. Sniper” was in Rochester this week. We’ll talk with Mildred Muhammad and learn about a story that’s more common than you may realize. The indiscriminate act of domestic violence and what you need to know about it, on this edition of Need to Know with host Hélène Biandudi Hofer.

Also on the show, imagine a prescription for video games! WXXI’s Sasha-Ann Simons explains how electronic gaming can help those dealing with pain find some relief.

And are you smarter than....a first grader? Probably not when it comes to your knowledge of one particular reptile. Meet the young experts who have been preparing to school Rochester just in time for World Turtle Day.

Mildred Muhammad | Facebook

Watch Need to Know with host Hélène Biandudi Hofer Thursdays at 8pm on WXXI-TV, Channel 21.1 and Cable 11 or 1221.

The remaining presidential contenders have all made promises on what they would do if elected, some even vowing to make Rochester better than it stands right now. On this edition of Need to Know, area political scientists weigh in on the policies and promises of the candidates and the real impact they could have on our region.

Also on the show, two local journalists track an ongoing investigation into an unsolved murder from 1979. They’re releasing their findings in a new podcast called Finding Tammy Jo. We’ll learn about the lingering questions and varying perspectives into the young victim’s death.

And call it an event for the imagination. We’ve got your first look at some impressive inventions coming right out of Rochester at this this year’s Imagine RIT.

Rochester Rhinos

Secretary of State John Kerry has talked about the power of soccer and its ability, like other sports, to unify, show commonality and to bring out the best. Soccer certainly has a history in Rochester. And it’s that history combined with a winning pro men’s soccer team going into its 21st season this weekend that’s the start of a recipe for success for the new owners of the Rochester Rhinos. But bringing out the best for them means a new vision, a new fan experience, and a new effort to collaborate with the community.


A political jab here and there is commonplace amongst presidential candidates in the heat of election season. But this year it seems nothing is off the table, including very personal character assassinations. But there’s one common theme taking place that President Barack Obama has called “inexcusable political rhetoric.” He’s talking about controversial statements made against Muslim-Americans. But this is not just happening on the political stage, it’s happening in the media, in school classrooms, and your favorite stores. On this segment of Need to Know we discuss how islamophobia affects the Rochester region.

WXXI News | Hélène Biandudi Hofer

Anti-Muslim rhetoric doesn’t only exist in presidential campaigns or sprinkled throughout the national media. It also exists in Rochester. It can be experienced in grocery store check-out lanes, school classrooms, and neighborhood hang-out spots. On this edition of Need to Know we learn about about the effects of Islamophobia on our community.

 Also on the show, bringing back Rochester’s glory days of soccer. The new owners of the Rochester Rhinos have big plans to rejuvenate the soccer experience. Learn how their vision involves you.