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

The heroin and opioid epidemic is taking the lives of young and old in our region...and it’s only getting worse.

Thursday, November 2 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV is a special edition of Need to Know as addicts, families, and people involved in grassroots efforts speak out to help peel back the layers of addiction and provide a path for support.

Trick-or-Treat night is right around the corner. What you may not know is that dressing up in scary costumes and venturing from porch to porch to get that handful of sugar isn’t always easy or possible for everyone. For children with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities the centuries-old Halloween traditions are not always accessible and inclusive, but you can learn how they can be. 

On October 19, the Center for Disability Rights hosted a candidate forum on disability issues. WXXI’s Hélène Biandudi Hofer moderated the event last year where one question continued to come up for area politicians: Will you vote to approve ride-hailing even if companies are not required to ensure people of all abilities can access rides? Fast-forward 12 months and now Uber and Lyft are both operating in Rochester. But are they operating for everyone? Biandudi Hofer recently met with Center for Disability Rights Board Member Kenyatta DaCosta to get his take.

It’s a phrase some of you have likely heard more than once: “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” While researchers say the precise attribution is questionable, some would say the meaning behind the phrase bears some truth. But for the more than 10 percent of unemployed Americans with a disability - which is nearly double the unemployment rate of those without a disability - finding a job is the ultimate goal.

You’ll meet Justin, a young man who found a job he loves. A local organization believes Justin’s story is one of many that drive home the importance of building inclusive work communities to help understand the diverse strengths of all abilities.

Some people call it the “daily grind,” but on this edition of Need to Know you’ll meet others who describe it as a “daily dream.” We discuss power of employment for individuals with disabilities and why this month federal and local agencies are on calling on more companies to diversify their workforce.

Also on the show, ride-hailing companies now operating in upstate New York are intended to make getting from point A to point B easier. But do their services work for everyone?

And with Halloween right around the corner we look into what it takes to make the holiday’s festivities accessible and inclusive for all kids in our community. 

Are Rochester kids better off today than in 2011? That’s when a community-wide initiative called ROC The Future launched. The effort has been an all-hands-on-deck collaboration focused on one thing: improving the state of children in Rochester. On this Need to Know segment we’ll learn what’s working, what isn’t and if things are moving forward fast enough.

It all started with a group of about ten people eager to give back by helping others move forward. They were trained and equipped to take on the proud label of: mentor. Their “mentees” on the other hand had a different type of label, one associated with a host of stigmas due to a troubled past. The mentors: Rochester residents. The “mentees”: ex-offenders returning to the community from time served behind bars. That small group was the first class of mentors for the Judicial Process Commission’s Adult Mentoring Program. It launched more than 20 years ago.

On this edition of Need to Know we hear from a mentor- “mentee” partnership who describe how their relationship has influenced both of their lives. We’ll also learn whether mentoring programs are effective and how they impact the community at-large.

Mentors for ex-offenders. It’s just one strategy out of many intended to reduce recidivism rates and to help high-risk adults find a new life free of crime. Does it work? And does the community have a stake in the matter? We’ll find out on this edition of Need to Know.

Also on the show, an update on just how well we’re all doing with what’s intended to be an “all-hands-on-deck effort” to help Rochester kids successfully progress from cradle to career.

And a Vietnam Veteran says sometimes it feels like he was just there. The experiences of war and the power of sharing one’s story nearly 50 years later.

This week, learn about mentors for inmates. It’s a partnership intended to not only steer individuals on the right path, but to also impact the criminal justice system. So, how is it working in our region? 

And is the state of our children improving? A new report card answers that question – more than five years after the launch of a community-wide effort.

It happened more than four decades ago, so why does its legacy still haunt us to this day? Uncovering the Attica prison uprising and how it impacted the current state of criminal justice on this edition of Need to Know.

Also on the show, he’s the radio personality everyone calls “brother.” And he’s sharing stories about a brotherhood that saw him through some of the best of times and the worst of times. Don’t miss reflections of Vietnam with Brother Wease.