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

“Restoring fiscal integrity,” “fighting taxes,” “ending educational apartheid.” These are just a few of the priority issues of our candidates in the race for Monroe County Executive. On this edition of Need to Know, we learn about the changes some of the candidates believe must be made in our region.
Also on the show, from learning his craft in Cincinnati, Ohio, to producing stoneware in his local studio, Potter Richard Aerni shares more about his work and the Inaugural Flower City Pottery Invitational bringing ceramic artists from around the country to Rochester.

Rick Guidotti | Positive Exposure

A human movement to see beauty in human diversity. That’s how internationally renowned photographer Rick Guidotti describes the work of a photo exhibition at Rochester’s George Eastman Museum. It’s called Positive Exposure and it includes fifty portraits of individuals with genetic, physical, cognitive, and behavioral differences. Visitors may even recognize some of the faces. Twenty portraits are of Rochester area residents with intellectual disabilities. On this edition of Need to Know we learn more about the exhibit, commissioned by the Golisano Foundation, which is focused on celebrating differences and changing perspectives.

Ana Casserly

On this edition of Need to Know we examine autism spectrum disorder which affects one in 68 children with boys being five times more likely to have the disorder. African-American and Latino children with autism tend to be diagnosed later in life than Caucasian kids.  The difference can be as great as two or three years which can cause them to miss out on important early intervention. Nationally, researchers are looking at ways to offer better care in under-served communities. One proposed project is trying to reduce that disparity by providing support services for families when the first signs of autism are recognized. Need to Know’s Sasha-Ann Simons reports.

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

NY State Board of Elections

Hillary, Donald, Bernie, Carly and the list goes on. They’re the names we cannot seem to get enough of as we brace ourselves for what has already proven to be an interesting run for President in 2016. But what about 2015? While voter turnout was quite low in this year’s primary election in Monroe County, there are some races voters should be watching. What are they and how do the results of the general election really impact residents of the Rochester region? Sarah Burns, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science at RIT, joins host Hélène Biandudi Hofer for this segment of Need to Know.

Rick Guidotti | Positive Exposure

From school boards to legislative seats, on this edition of Need to Know we’re talking about the races Monroe County residents should be watching and why they matter this election season.

Also on the show, studies find that African American and Latino children are underrepresented when identifying young people with autism. We’ll learn why minority kids may be under-diagnosed and how the Rochester area is responding.

And changing societal attitudes about the image of beauty. A new photo exhibit featuring Monroe County residents with intellectual disabilities is focused on doing just that.

There’s a disparity in America among blacks’ and whites’ views of violence against civilians by police. Nearly three quarters of black residents surveyed recently by the Associated Press consider violence against civilians by police officers an extremely or very serious problem. That’s compared to 20% of white residents surveyed. At the same time, many Americans, regardless of race, believe violence against police is a very serious problem in the US.

The growing contention between law enforcement and some city residents throughout the country can be seen everywhere from social media and blog posts to magazines and TV news programs. So what does that all mean for Rochester? Where do things stand between our officers and our residents? Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli joins the conversation on this Need to Know segment.

ROCSPOT | rochestersubway.com

Making Rochester a hub of the national solar industry by 2025. That’s the goal of Susan Spencer Ph.D.,  the Director and Founder of the local non-profit, ROCSPOT. That stands for the Rochester Solar Powered Organizational Team. And Spencer’s not alone in her plans to solarize the city and surrounding areas. Other individuals and groups are also part of this effort. So why go solar in one’s home or business? What are the disadvantages of solar energy and what would it take to make Rochester a solar city?


Nearly three years ago a number of Rochester leaders, community activists, organizations and others took a pledge of sorts. They committed to addressing issues of race and racism in the Rochester region. Some of these efforts include the Democrat & Chronicle’s Unite Rochester and also FR=EE, an acronym for Facing Race, Embracing Equity. It was an exhibit at the Rochester Museum and Science Center back in 2013 called “RACE: Are We So Different?” that some say was the door-opener for difficult discussions in our community about attitudes and perceptions associated with one’s skin color. On this segment of Need to Know we examine the big question: Where do things stand right now?



On this edition of Need to Know we look into where Rochester stands in its efforts to create a community of racial equity and inclusion. That’s been a priority of various groups and partnerships for the past few years such as the Democrat & Chronicle’s Unite Rochester and Facing Race, Embracing Equity (FR=EE). What’s changed? What hasn’t? What’s new and what can community members do about it?