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

Following a tragic first week of July in our nation, and unrest in our city, on this edition of Need to Know we ask residents: What will it take to build trust between the community and local law enforcement?

Also on the show, it’s barely the width of a penny and yet it’s demolishing Monroe County ash trees. Experts explain why you cannot ignore the Emerald Ash Borer.

And they go by names like Kandy Krusher, Medusa Mayhem and Quiet Qaos...we’re introducing you to the world of roller derby in Rochester where if you can’t keep up you better get out of the way!

Explore Rochester | Eitan Freedenberg

On this edition of Need to Know, meet a Rochester man who has taken on quite a challenge. From feeding the hungry, working to help mitigate gang violence and breaking religious stereotypes, he’s on a mission to bring change to Rochester. He shares more about his work and its potential impact on the region.

Also on the show, do you ever find yourself trying to defend why you live in Rochester? Some local blogs might be able to help you out. They’re collecting all the reasons to celebrate our region and the many places to explore and discover Rochester.

And check out the work of local artist Andrea Durfee who infuses emotion and mythology into her watercolor masterpieces.

Quinn Bachand

Acoustic guitar, tenor banjo, clawhammer banjo, fiddle, bouzouki, and percussion. Those are some of the instruments mastered by musician, Quinn Bachand. The 20-year-old performer is recognized as one of Canada’s most outstanding young musicians. From renowned cover songs to original pieces, whether performing with his band or his sister, the young talent is winning over fans and awards around the globe. He joins this edition of Need to Know just before his big performances in this year’s Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.

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.