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

Photographer Arleen Thaler

Her photographs capture the beauty of a community but also reveal the dark side of humanity. On this edition of Need to Know we’ll see how Rochester photographer Arleen Thaler is advocating for the disadvantaged one picture at a time.

We’ll also learn how Thaler’s photographs are being used in partnership with a national campaign to empower survivors of abuse and trafficking.

And renowned movie critic Jack Garner joins us to talk about the multi-dimensional power of film. 

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

Aside from social media there’s one place where you can really get inside the minds of voters this election season…the radio airwaves. On this edition of Need to Know, some of the big names in Rochester radio share the not-so-politically-correct desires, fears and thoughts of listeners in this year’s presidential election.

Also on the show, Martin Luther King Junior referred to them as the “Giant Triplets” and others have described them as the “Unholy Trinity.” We’ll learn why one of our nation’s most dynamic religious leaders is coming to Rochester to join our community in the fight against violence, poverty and racism.

And your perception of mental health conditions may be challenged through the work of a Seneca Falls painter. Don’t miss her inspiring story of confronting mental illness through art.

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

Rochester’s first 24-hour Spanish radio station will be celebrating its first birthday in a few weeks. Poder 97.1 FM hit the airwaves last November with the goal of reaching dual-language audiences through music, educational programming, and everyday life tips. So how is this station, owned and operated by Rochester’s Ibero-American Action League reaching a growing demographic and using culture to bring diverse audiences together? We learn more on this edition of Need to Know.

The Associated Press

With Halloween just weeks away, this is the time of year when haunted houses are all the rage. But the type of empty, run down, dilapidated homes we’re examining on this edition of Need to Know far outlast the seasonal spooky home tours. We’re talking about zombie homes. Why do you need to know about them? According to Rebecca Caico, Senior Staff Attorney with Empire Justice Center, there are thousands of zombie properties in Monroe County. We’ll discuss how they’re haunting taxpayers in ways they may be unaware of.


On this edition of Need to Know….houses that haunt! Rochester homeowners, neighborhoods and taxpayers are facing a scary reality. But could relief be on the way? We’re looking into the zombie home apocalypse.

Also on the show, a first of its kind local radio station is working to bridge a gap for a growing demographic. We’ll learn if the station’s music and message is also bridging a cultural divide.

And we’ll discover how passion meets fashion. Don’t miss the story behind a local designer who fought the odds and is now getting his time in the spotlight.


When more people are working that’s better for our economy, right? But what if they’re making subminimum wages? It’s happening and it’s legal. On this edition of Need to Know we examine the downsides, the benefits, and how subminimum wage is tying into this election season.

Also on the show, you will not think about music as mere melodies and harmonies after you meet one Rochester doctor with what you could call “musical bedside manners.”

And get an exclusive look at two stories being investigated by two journalists in the WXXI newsroom. We’ll find out what they’re covering, why, and what we need to know about it.

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

Rochester Housing Authority


On the evening of September 26th a waiting list for a program that helps low income residents pay for housing will close. So what’s the real impact of this program known as Section 8? On this edition of Need to Know we look into the myths and misconceptions of Section 8 and much more.

Also on the show, a voter registration drive in Rochester is bringing together entertainers, businesses and community leaders. We’ll learn why they’re focused on mobilizing the millennial vote.

And we look at the transition from bark to works of art. A local woodworker and artist shows us how she transforms nature into creative works intended to bring joy.