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

Anti-Semitic incidents are up 86 percent in the U.S. compared to the same time last year. That’s according to the Anti-Defamation League, a civil rights organization. Some of those acts of hatred against American Jews took place right here in Rochester. A public discussion on these events and how to respond to them to create a more tolerant community is taking place with area leaders and residents. The effort is being led by the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Project out of Monroe Community College. On this edition of Need to Know we discuss the causes of religious bigotry and local work to bring more acceptance to Rochester.

He says Rochester is experiencing “a legacy of failed progressive Democratic philosophies.” So how would Republican mayoral candidate Tony Micciche change that legacy if elected to Rochester’s top spot? His campaign is focused on Rochester City schools, what he calls “wasteful” and “redundant” business regulations and a public safety plan intended to reduce crime and improve police-community relations among other issues. The candidate in the race for Rochester mayor and Monroe County Legislator Tony Micciche joins this edition of Need to Know to make his case.

He’s the only Republican contender in the fight for Rochester’s next mayor. And he calls this election a “battle of philosophies.” Why Monroe County Legislator Tony Micciche believes he’s the only candidate who will bring real change to this city. He makes his case on this edition of Need to Know.

Also on the show, we look into what’s driving hate speech, religious bigotry, and racial violence. How can communities like Rochester respond? We’ll hear about a community effort to bring tolerance to our neighborhoods and our nation.

And we’ll meet one of the brilliant minds in our local medical community researching rare diseases to help find treatment and a cure.

He says he’s one of us and he’s the American dream. Monroe county legislator Tony Micciche joins the program to talk taxes, jobs, education and what it will take become the first Republican mayor in more than 40 years in the city of Rochester. Our conversation with this year’s mayoral candidates continues on Need to Know.

It’s been said that history has a way of repeating itself. The global refugee crisis of more than 65 million displaced people draws a correlation to one of the darkest times in human history. Today the world is experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.

As some nations open their borders to refugees escaping conflicts in their homelands, closer to home we remember our past when nearly a thousand refugees from Europe arrived in Oswego, New York in 1944.

For Keturah Ariel, making art that inspires, uplifts and advocates for her community is a priority. When the artist had a hard time finding paintings and drawings of girls that reflected her - young women of color - she began creating the images herself. The result: a business for her passion that empowers young girls.

On this edition of Need to Know, we’ll learn about Ariel’s story from PBS affiliate WOSU. We’ll also talk with Rochester artist Johnnie Lee Smith who says African American and Hispanic youth not only need to see images of themselves reflected in art, but also need to see artists who look like them. 

When kids lash out or negatively act and speak out in the classroom there are repercussions. There’s detention, suspension, expulsion and sometimes legal ramifications. But what’s the story behind their behavior? And what would the response be if we knew, that for some, their actions are directly connected to the violence they’ve witnessed or endured and the long-term damage that violence has caused such as trauma? According to a survey done by the Department of Justice, 58 percent of kids have experienced or witnessed violence. On this edition of Need to Know we hear about a local effort to mitigate the impact of this public health crisis.

You may have heard a relatively unfamiliar name now in the race for Rochester’s next mayor. It’s Lori Thomas. The former teacher says she’s not a party politician, but a public servant who, if elected, will make the city prosperous. And, like some of her competitors in this race, she’s got a plan. A plan for turning vacant lots into homes for veterans. A plan for empowering the lives of seniors. And a plan for improving the lives of city youth. We hear from Lori Thomas on this edition of Need to Know.

What a “no party” candidate says she can bring to the City of Rochester so power returns to the people. But how? Mayoral candidate Lori Thomas joins this edition of Need to Know to explain.

Also on the show, more than half of kids in the US have been exposed to violence. The ripple effect of that exposure is damaging in more ways than one. We’ll hear about a local effort trying to mitigate the impact in Rochester.

And artists explain what it really means when you see your own cultural identity reflected in a painting...and in the painter.

From a “tiny homes” project for veterans to emergency centers within the four quadrants of the City of Rochester – the latest candidate to join the race for mayor is promising revitalization if elected. We’ll hear from retired teacher and education advocate Lori Thomas on her 6-step plan.

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