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 the next Need to Know, if you're still confused about the new federal tax law, we're going to break down what it means for you. 

Then, we sit down with Eddie Money. His short-lived career in law enforcement led him to music, and a musical bearing his name is debuting in Rochester. 

Raul Ramirez describes himself as a DREAMer The University of Rochester student is pursuing a BA in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. He has dreams of eventually practicing family medicine for the LGBTQ community. But Ramirez has a more immediate dream - for Congress to pass legislation that allows undocumented young people, just like him, and their families, to stay in the United States without fear of deportation. Ramirez, founder of the group UR DREAMers, joins this edition of Need to Know to share his story.

Some say the issue of immigration reform has not only taken a nasty turn in Congress, but also in our society. One reason might be lack of understanding and confusion in terms of what’s going on and why.

Joining this edition of Need to Know to share their understanding and perspectives on the issue at hand is:

  • Wes Renfro - Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science and Legal Studies at St. John Fisher College
  • Jocelyn “Josh” Apo - A Haitian refugee now US Citizen who released an inspiring memoir in 2017 about his journey, “Gold from the Well”
  • Jim Morris - Associate Vice President for Family Services at Catholic Family Center

It’s been described as a fiscal showdown in Washington. Members of Congress have been up against the clock to pass a federal spending bill and avoid another government shutdown. So what’s the issue? There’s one matter of contention.

What you need to know about immigration reform according to dreamers, one of your Congressional representatives, a refugee-now-U.S. citizen, and more, on this edition of Need to Know.

At first glance they appear to be intimate, one-of-a-kind watercolor portraits. But when you read between the lines you see life stories of bravery, pain, hope, and resilience. Charmaine Wheatley is an artist-in-residence at the University of Rochester. For the past year she has focused a portion of her work on reducing stigma of those who live with mental illness. Her process was the subject of a short documentary titled: “Portraits of Life” by Epic 10 Films in association with the UR School of Medicine & Dentistry.

On this edition of Need to Know we learn how a project capturing candid conversations with watercolor help to reduce stigma and empower those living with mental illness.

It’s a story that began over one hundred years ago in Rochester. It’s also a story that now has an “end” of sorts. For 115 years the story of Xerox was one of an independent company. But on Wednesday, January 31, it was announced that would change.  Fujifilm Holdings, the company that Xerox has had a joint venture with for 56 years, will now take a majority stake in the company. On this edition of Need to Know, we break down what this means for Xerox and for Rochester.

A $6.1 billion deal, a new owner, a hope for reinvention, and, an uncertain future. We break down the Xerox takeover on this edition of Need to Know.

Also on the show, one artist shows the Rochester community what can happen when personal stories of mental illness beautifully collide with paint.

For Kathleen O’Brien it began with difficulty expressing herself clearly and transitioned to driving down Interstate-490 one day without any idea where she was going or why. O’Brien was in her mid-fifties at the time. Fast-forward about ten years, now she is living with early onset or early stage dementia. It’s a condition you would likely never expect a healthy individual working in the field of medicine to endure at such a young age. O’Brien shared her story with Need to Know in an effort to raise awareness and to let others on this journey know that they’re not alone.

Mutual trust isn’t always associated with relationships between the police and the community. But one new deputy chief in Rochester is on a mission to not only build mutual trust, but to also change the way residents view law enforcement. Newly appointed deputy chief of communications for the Rochester Police Department, La’Ron Singletary, tells you how he attempts to accomplish this on this edition of Need to Know.

Fixing the relationship between police and communities around the U.S. is a process some say is losing traction. However, it’s the focus of the work of a new deputy chief of police in Rochester. Capt. La'Ron Singletary is on this edition of Need to Know to talk about collaboration between the police and the community & what that work looks like in Rochester.

Also on the show, they may be referred to as “the ageless generation,” but some people in their forties and fifties are dealing with an issue you might attribute to old age. One family speaks out about early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease to ensure others realize they’re not alone.