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

Coming up on Need to Know, their role is crucial in supporting individuals with disabilities, but their profession is seeing high turnover rates and unfilled vacancies. Why direct support professionals are being called underpaid and undervalued and what’s being done to change that.

Also on the show – turning adaptive sports for individuals with disabilities into family adventures.  The new way to think about and participate in inclusive activities.

From the outside they may look like an unlikely pair. One is an 11-year-old with a passion for handball, skiing and accelerated math. The other is a resident at a senior living center with a love of music - she sings in two choruses and plays in a band. They first met through a letter. That’s right a letter they each received in the mail from the other as part of a pen pal project launched by the Hillside Family of Agencies. As we learn in this Need to Know segment, what started in the form of letter-writing has now developed into something much more.

Improving the education of kids isn’t just about academics. In the City of Rochester it’s also about issues of equity, cultural competency, poverty, communication and parental engagement. Rochester City School students interviewed for previous Need to Know segments have shared big dreams of not only excelling but also making a positive imprint on their community. So what ideas exist to help more students with similar stories and how does that happen in a district that maintains low academic standing and graduation rates along with many other challenges? On this edition of Need to Know, some of the “new” faces running in the Democratic Primary for Rochester City School Board help answer that question and address those issues.

​New faces and fresh perspectives prepare to take on decades-old challenges.  The fight to improve the education and lives of city school students continues as a new slate of candidates joins the race for Rochester City School Board. On this edition of Need to Know we’ll learn why they’re running and how they believe they can help.

Also on the show, it’s often referred to as “a lost art.” See how old-school letter writing is bringing together diverse demographics in our community. 

Coming up this week on Need to Know, meet the fresh and familiar faces seeking seats on the Rochester school board.  Hear what some candidates say they can bring to the table to help change schools and the lives of the students who attend them.

Also, learn how seniors and teens facing many challenges are developing a unique bond through old-school letter writing.

This summer, all the candidates in the race for Rochester mayor were invited to be a part of a special segment on Need to Know. The goal: to get to know the candidates as everyday people rather than politicians. How? By joining them as they participate in one of their favorite pastimes. First up was Democrat Rachel Barnhart followed by Green Party candidate Alex White. On this edition of Need to Know it’s Independent candidate Lori Thomas.

Here’s a stat that may surprise you. Only 12 percent of youth in Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes are getting daily physical activity. This means the majority of area youth are not getting 60 minutes a day of active time. That’s one of the stats released in a recent report by the Aspen Institute. The findings are being used by the Rochester Area Community Foundation and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to improve access to sports, among other things, for area kids. Why this matters to all area residents and what’s being done to address gaps that exist with youth sports and recreational activities on this edition of Need to Know.

Hirings and firings in the White House, continued outrage over ethics reform or a lack thereof in Albany, and a race for mayor that’s been making daily headlines as of late in Rochester. There’s no shortage of political news to discuss this week so we invited Assembly Majority Leader, Democrat Joe Morelle, to weigh in on this edition of Need to Know.

On this edition of Need to Know, Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle stops by the WXXI Studios to weigh in on the state of the White House, ethics reform in Albany and the race for Rochester mayor.

Also on the show, it’s pivotal for healthy brain development and it’s a key weapon to help fight obesity in youth. By why aren’t more kids in our region doing it? We’ll examine the State of Play.

And we’re taking a break from the mayoral campaign trail and transitioning to…the nature trail to learn about the person behind the politician.

On this week's program, New York Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle will share his perspective on the national political scene and discuss issues you “need to know” about closer to home.

Also, whatever happened to neighborhood stick ball and dodge ball games? We’ll look at the challenges in getting youth from rural to urban areas in our region to get more active – and what’s being done to increase access to youth sports. 

And our series looking at the person behind the politician returns with Rochester mayoral candidate Lori Thomas. 

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