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

Associated Press

What’s the status of some of the lowest performing schools in Rochester? Could they get taken over? Could the Mayor’s proposal for a special district for failing schools get approved? New York State Education Commissioner, MaryEllen Elia, joins this edition of Need to Know with host Helene Biandudi Hofer and weighs in on the education climate in Rochester.

Also on the show, could more wineries in the Finger Lakes be joining New York’s push to go solar? The Innovation Trail’s Sasha-Ann Simons reports.

And some have called him Canada’s hottest young guitarist. Meet Quinn Bachand just before his performance in this year’s Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.

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

Associated Press

The new documentary on the life and times of baseball legend Jackie Robinson by filmmaker Ken Burns includes a familiar face. Historic footage captured scientist, educator and civil rights activist, Walter Cooper, standing side-by-side with Jackie Robinson. Though the scene may have been a short one, the story behind it reflects the life of a man that transcended the baseball field. Rochester resident Walter Cooper joins this segment of Need to Know to talk about a legacy that continues to inspire.


From his comments regarding the revised Code of Conduct for Rochester City Schools to a call for his resignation from the Democrat & Chronicle, the President of the Rochester Teachers Association has been taking some heat from various parts of the community.  But Adam Urbanski has also been called a champion for public education. For more than 30 years the former high school teacher and college professor has served at the helm of the RTA. From superintendent turn-over, revised education policies, and an ever-changing school climate, among other things, he has remained a constant presence over the past few decades.

Credit: David S. Johnson, Library of Congress

Controversial, dynamic, outspoken. These are some of the words that have been used to describe the leader of the Rochester Teachers Association. Whether you’re a critic or a fan, don’t miss this Need to Know conversation with Adam Urbanski about the future of education in Rochester.

Also on the show, when you think about Jackie Robinson, don’t just think about baseball. One Rochester resident who worked alongside Robinson in the fight for civil rights says the baseball legend lived a life that continues to inspire.

And when the world of art merges with day-habilitation you just might get the perfect recipe for joy, confidence and empowerment. A local program shows us how. 

City Newspaper

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


Despite what you may think, bicycles aren’t just for kids or avid cyclists. There’s a place for everyone in the world of cycling. One local group is working to bring the 55-plus crowd into the fold in an effort to recruit Golden Cruisers. On this Need to Know segment we’ll learn the benefits of cycling in your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond.

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.