WXXI AM News

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 was renowned cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead who said: “The young, free to act on their initiative, can lead their elders in the direction of the unknown.” How does that happen? Some might say it begins with young people sharing their perspectives on the issues splashed across news headlines. Over at WAYO Radio’s Fresh Perspectives program, the teens driving that show say it also involves celebrating and highlighting their peers while starting a dialogue that impacts their community. We learn all about their work on this edition of Need to Know.

It’s been called a “gavel gap.” That term refers to a lack of diversity in American courtrooms. In so many words it means a number of American judges do not represent the people they serve whether by race, ethnic background or gender. That stands true for Monroe County as well, in particular when it comes to the focus of this edition of Need to Know: Family Court. The Monroe County Democratic Committee and a group within the organization is working to change that and it could happen this fall.

Two candidates in the race for Family Court judge will make history if elected this fall. On this edition of Need to Know we’ll discuss the gap they’re working to fill and why they say it matters.

Also on the show, we’ll learn how a radio program is promoting conversations among young people about the issues that concern them.

A new film follows the journey of three women in the Rochester area. They’re all mothers and they’ve all served time behind bars for opioid and heroin-related crimes. Opioids from Inside is a partnership between WXXI, Blue Sky Project and PBS World. It examines the challenging path to sobriety while also showing the painful effects of addiction on families and communities. On this edition of Need to Know, we learn more about the ripple effect of this crisis through the perspectives of those featured in the film.

It’s not everyday that you hear about a neighborhood, plagued with drug sales and use, coming together and saying: “We have had enough, no more!” That’s exactly what’s happening right now in the City of Rochester’s North Clinton Avenue neighborhood. It’s an area so synonymous with drug activity, some refer to it as “Heroin Alley.” On this edition of Need to Know, you’ll see it’s also a place working to forge a new path.

The people, the stories, the addiction. On a special edition of Need to Know we examine what you likely haven’t heard about the heroin and opioid crisis and the epidemic’s ripple effects impacting our region. It's part of our series Opioid Crisis: The Ripple Effect.

Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist, Adam Guettel, calls it a show that is unabashedly romantic, full of strings, and passionate singing. Well, we have him to thank for all that. It’s the award-winning Broadway hit, “The Light in the Piazza.” In 2005, Guettel won two Tonys for his score for the musical. And now, he’s in Rochester, for the Eastman Opera Theatre’s performance of “The Light in the Piazza” happening this week at Kodak Hall. We recently caught up with Guettel, who also happens to be the grandson of famed American composer Richard Rodgers.

“Meeting a woman where she is, addressing her immediate needs, and building on her strengths” - according to Rochester’s Jean Carroll, that’s what builds confidence and puts a woman on a path towards a better future. The President and CEO of the YWCA of Rochester and Monroe County has been tackling that work for more than 30 years. Work that, for the most part, will come to an end later this month. Carroll is stepping down from her post for personal obligations. Before she goes, she joins us to reflect on the efforts she has spearheaded to fight racism, racial inequalities, and poverty for women and children in Rochester.

Jean Carroll is leaving the YWCA. A Rochester voice and force in the fight to end racism and empower women, she shares what she wants you to know about race, class and gender barriers for women in our region.  Also on the show, he’s referred to by some as “Broadway Royalty.” Why a Tony Award-winning composer is in Rochester just before a Broadway hit opens at Kodak Hall.

 Jean Carroll, president and CEO of the YWCA, is leaving after more than 30 years of fighting to end racism and empowering women is leaving her post.

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