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

With the most segregated public schools in the nation residing right here in New York, some education leaders are now saying “enough is enough.” Fixing the diversity gap in our school districts starting from the top, on this edition of Need to Know.

Also on the show, for some, life after high school means endless opportunities. For others, in particular those with disabilities, exiting the school system and entering the adult world can be a daunting process. A new WXXI podcast explores that journey for young people.

And we get a first look at how the concept of “small homes” is changing nursing home culture in Rochester.

“Who are your heroes and what do they do? Do they ever think about me or think about you?” And so begins a series of contemplative questions in a children’s book intended to help young people reimagine the concept of a hero. It’s aptly titled HEROES and it’s written by Rochester City School Board President Van White who explains “real” heroes aren’t the ones donning flashy capes. 

Coming up on Need to Know, New York superintendents are coming together to discuss one thing: issues of diversity in public schools. Find out why they say change must begin at the district-level.

Also on the show, it’s an alternative to home care for seniors and the concept is spreading. How “small neighborhoods and “small homes” are changing nursing home culture right here in Rochester.

Don’t miss these stories and more this week on Need to Know.

Another election season has come and gone. While national media outlets report that a“surge” of women ran for office in major races since last year’s Presidential election, the gender gap in politics remains. And so we have to ask: “Where are the women?” That question was the title of an article written and researched by WXXI’s Tianna Manon for City Newspaper. It’s a question surrounded by a number of issues - some of guests address on this edition of Need to Know.

Deadly and destructive hurricanes. Shootings in churches, on college campuses and at music concerts. Acts of terrorism from the streets of New York City to a mosque in Minnesota. Anti-Semitic threats on Jewish community centers and hate marches at synagogues. And to think...these don’t even scratch the surface of the tragic incidents that continue to shake our nation. At a time when many in our community and our country feel helpless and hopeless - Rochester area religious leaders are coming together on this edition of Need to Know to discuss the challenges of our time and to offer a sense of hope at a moment when some say it's needed most. 

As senseless acts of violence rip through our community and our country, Rochester-area religious leaders come together to discuss the challenges of our time on this edition of Need to Know.

Also on the show, some states saw a surge of women running for political office this election season, but there’s still a significant gender gap. We’ll discuss the reasons more women aren’t running for office and what can be done to help change that.

And why a well-known name in education circles in Rochester wants kids to re-think what it means to be a hero.

On this week's show, from mass shootings and terrorist attacks to ongoing issues of racism, sexism and much more….Rochester area religious leaders come together to address the challenges of our time.

Then, we ask why aren’t more women joining the political arena as candidates? We’ve got some answers that may surprise you.

If you’re an addict in recovery finding a job is not an easy feat. An arrest record, time served behind bars, and the permanent suspension of a driver’s license can make gaining employment a challenge. However, at Rochester’s Coffee Connection all of the above could make you the perfect fit. Places such as Parkleigh, the University of Rochester, and all three Kitty Van Bortel car dealerships are stocked with the fair trade, organic, sustainably-farmed coffee from the Coffee Connection. Watch the story of a local spot where hundreds of women in recovery have gone to gain job skills and much more.

The heroin and opioid epidemic, recently declared a national public health emergency, is a problem surrounded by questions. Experts join Need to Know's Hélène Biandudi Hofer to help make sense of some of the most pressing questions and concerns in relation to addiction, treatment and support.

206 - that is the number of deaths in 2016 related to heroin, opioids, fentanyl, and related substances within the ten counties served by the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s office. That’s a number that grew 142 percent from 2015 to 2016.

It’s also a number that the Polito family of Rochester, like countless others, feared would include their own child, Mary Jo. In 2016 they learned their daughter was addicted to heroin and life as they knew it changed.

The Polito family’s story is one that may resonate with many watching this broadcast. And it’s a story Mary Jo herself wanted to share solely in the hopes of helping to save at least one life.

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