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


It’s amazing how many drivers out there can tell stories of instances where they were completely blindsided by a nearby motorbike. And the statistics back up the anecdotes.

According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, motorcyclists accounted for 14 per cent of the total highway fatalities in the country, despite motorcycle registrations representing only three per cent of all vehicles in the United States in 2013.

City of Rochester

Promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation one community at a time. That’s part of the mission of Sister Cities International. The program was created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower back in 1956. He envisioned a relationship between different cities around the world – a way for different cultures to celebrate and appreciate their differences while also building partnerships that could lead to everything from development projects to educational exchanges. Rochester has 12 sister cities around the globe. How relevant are these relationships today? And how do they benefit the Rochester community?

Rochester Live

The late-night television climate is certainly in the midst of change. Fans are adjusting to the absence of some of their favorite hosts. Chelsea Handler and Craig Ferguson have already taken their last bow. And it’s the countdown right now to the final episode for David Letterman of The Late Show. Jon Stewart says adios to The Daily Show in August. In the midst of all these changes, there happens to be a local comedic variety show which appears to be a spin-off of sorts of late-night television. But this show is on the web and the guests are all from Rochester. The online program is called Rochester Live.

He’s only been in his new post as President and CEO of Rochester Business Alliance for a little over four months now. But it seems former Rochester Mayor and Lieutenant Governor of New York, Bob Duffy, has been busy. His most recent effort is being hailed by some as a move that won’t only help break misconceptions, but could also address the cycle of poverty in the Rochester area. He’s calling on the RBA’s members to fill open positions within their businesses with at least one person living in poverty. On this segment of Need to Know, Bob Duffy discusses why he believes his “One Job” effort could work, what it involves, and other projects on his radar.

Who can help break the cycle of poverty in Rochester? According to Bob Duffy, area businesses can play a key role. On this edition of Need to Know, Duffy joins us to explain his charge to Rochester companies that some say could work.

Also on the show, as the landscape of late-night television is changing, a Rochester comedic variety show offers a new option for viewers on the web.

And the whimsical work of artist Cordell Cordaro. He gives us an inside look at his approach to painting and his take on the business of art.

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

Healing of Magic

One man is on a mission to heal, and he’s doing it by empowering physical therapists with the unique tool of magic.

After a serious car crash years ago, illusionist Kevin Spencer ended up in neurological intensive care with brain and spinal cord injuries. He spent nearly a year in physical therapy and grew tired of the repetitive process that wasn’t working quickly enough. It was then that Spencer realized the movements required to do the simple magic tricks he learned as a child, were the same kinds of movements that he was doing in traditional forms of therapy. He soon after developed the Healing of Magic program, and has been teaching the skills to occupational therapists across the globe.

Authors Judy Jonas and Marla Berkowitz share what they call pioneering work with Need to Know host Hélène Biandudi Hofer. Their book, Deaf and Hearing Siblings in Conversation, researches the unique dynamic between adult deaf and hearing siblings. This segment is the conclusion of a two-part interview on Need to Know. Jonas and Berkowitz explain how blending deaf culture and the hearing world takes an entire family unit – as does a commitment by all family members to learn how to sign.