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

Soapbox racing started in the 1930s and in Rochester, there’s a pretty solid fan base among Rochester teens willing to ditch their smartphones, tablets and video games to get outside for a little healthy competition.

WXXI’s Denise Young introduces you to these youngsters and explains why the real thrill of racing is the camaraderie built on the track by these ‘Super Kids’.


Finding the right place to live requires a different type of checklist for individuals with developmental disabilities. And for those seeking independent housing the barriers can be daunting. But now there’s a new local model created to change that. Easing the transition to independent living on this special Move to Include edition of Need to Know.

Also on the show, they’re called “Super Kids” for a reason. We’ll learn about a local group teaching young people with disabilities far more than the skill of racing.

Institutions and can be common living arrangements for individuals with disabilities. We’ll examine a new approach to break down barriers to independent living in our community.

You'll also learn how a sport that’s been around since the 1930s is being adapted for kids of all abilities. And meet one of the teens who helped make history in Rochester with his soapbox derby skills. 

Don’t miss a special Move to Include edition of Need to Know this week.

The Top of the Class series introduces viewers to exceptional high school students working to make a difference in their schools and our community. These are all students who are described by peers and teachers as leaders who don’t seek attention, but rather ways to serve. Meet a young mean who seems to be the epitome of smarts and service – 2017 Webster Schroeder High School graduate Dalton Pumputis.

WXXI asked all the candidates in the race for Rochester mayor for an opportunity to get to know them better….as a person and not a candidate running for office. We figured tagging along as they partake in one of their favorite pastimes was a pretty good way to get a glimpse inside their lives. On this segment of Need to Know it’s Green Party candidate Alex White. 

The Erie Canal is getting quite a birthday party. It was 200 years ago this month when construction began on the Canal. When it was completed in 1825, the canal connected Lake Erie with the Hudson River - forever changing a young nation, socially and economically. It’s the latter that state and local leaders are working to emphasize. While the Erie Canal has been described as an “empire builder” by Professor of Religious Studies S. Brent Rodriguez Plate, does it still have relevance as an economic force today? 

This week, our series taking us inside the lives of Rochester’s mayoral candidates continues. This week we tag along with Alex White who has a passion for taking what was once vacant and abandoned and turning into a new creation.

Also on the show, meet a phenomenal high school student in our “Top of the Class” series with a unique plan to bring together communities through athletics.


A well-known name in the fight to tackle poverty in our region is stepping down from his post. But before he goes, we’ll hear his message for Rochester. A conversation with James Norman of Action for a Better Community on this edition of Need to Know.

For Barack Obama it’s playing basketball and pool. For Congresswoman Frederica Wilson it’s collecting hats. For George W. Bush it’s painting. These are some of the hobbies of political leaders in our nation that give us just a little insight into the person behind the politician. But what about our local political figures in Rochester? It can be rare to get a behind-the-scenes look of their lives….until now. A special segment on Need to Know this summer will take us inside the lives of candidates in the race for Rochester mayor. The focus: getting to know them through one of their favorite pastimes. First up, Democrat Rachel Barnhart.

New Rochester City School District Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams says building trust isn’t about words, but actions. We’ll learn how she plans to act to improve relationships, mind-sets, build trust and enforce change in the city school system. 

Also, a new series introduces us to the person behind the politician in this year’s mayoral race in the City of Rochester.