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

The remaining presidential contenders have all made promises on what they would do if elected, some even vowing to make Rochester better than it stands right now. On this edition of Need to Know, area political scientists weigh in on the policies and promises of the candidates and the real impact they could have on our region.

Also on the show, two local journalists track an ongoing investigation into an unsolved murder from 1979. They’re releasing their findings in a new podcast called Finding Tammy Jo. We’ll learn about the lingering questions and varying perspectives into the young victim’s death.

And call it an event for the imagination. We’ve got your first look at some impressive inventions coming right out of Rochester at this this year’s Imagine RIT.

Rochester Rhinos

Secretary of State John Kerry has talked about the power of soccer and its ability, like other sports, to unify, show commonality and to bring out the best. Soccer certainly has a history in Rochester. And it’s that history combined with a winning pro men’s soccer team going into its 21st season this weekend that’s the start of a recipe for success for the new owners of the Rochester Rhinos. But bringing out the best for them means a new vision, a new fan experience, and a new effort to collaborate with the community.


A political jab here and there is commonplace amongst presidential candidates in the heat of election season. But this year it seems nothing is off the table, including very personal character assassinations. But there’s one common theme taking place that President Barack Obama has called “inexcusable political rhetoric.” He’s talking about controversial statements made against Muslim-Americans. But this is not just happening on the political stage, it’s happening in the media, in school classrooms, and your favorite stores. On this segment of Need to Know we discuss how islamophobia affects the Rochester region.

WXXI News | Hélène Biandudi Hofer

Anti-Muslim rhetoric doesn’t only exist in presidential campaigns or sprinkled throughout the national media. It also exists in Rochester. It can be experienced in grocery store check-out lanes, school classrooms, and neighborhood hang-out spots. On this edition of Need to Know we learn about about the effects of Islamophobia on our community.

 Also on the show, bringing back Rochester’s glory days of soccer. The new owners of the Rochester Rhinos have big plans to rejuvenate the soccer experience. Learn how their vision involves you.


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

Republican or Democrat? How about neither. Polls find young voters aren’t particularly tied to either political party. But how they’ll ultimately choose to vote carries some weight. On this edition of Need to Know, we’ll learn what matters most to our region’s young millennials and how to win their vote this presidential election season.

Also on the show, historic moments over the past several decades preserved through clothing. An exhibit in its final days in Rochester is a walk down memory lane for some and a source of inspiration for a new generation. 

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

Courtesy of David Bean | KPBS

You may think tracing your family tree is a personal story, it’s actually part of the American story. On this edition of Need to Know, the host of the PBS series Genealogy Roadshow, joins us to discuss the surprising twists and turns in connecting family dots.

Also on the show, a new documentary reveals that a picture really is worth a thousand words -  especially when it’s a rediscovered photo of abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

And we’re back with our series Inside the Newsroom. We’ll talk with WXXI’s Beth Adams and Michelle Faust to get the inside scoop on their latest special reports. 

Manufacturing Extension Partnership

In Rochester and the surrounding region, a lot of hopes are being pinned on photonics.

It was announced last year that Rochester would be home to an integrated photonics manufacturing hub. It’s all part of a $600 million public-private partnership with federal, state and private funding.

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