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

The phrase “sharing economy” is becoming a household name. The options available in this collaborative landscape include services like: coworking spaces, home and apartment sharing, fashion reselling, talent sharing, and something relatively new in upstate New York - ridesharing.

This past fall Need to Know reported on concerns from area residents who say individuals with disabilities, in particular those utilizing wheelchairs, have been forgotten about when it comes to this sector of the “sharing economy.”

Resident Kenyatta DaCosta was curious to see if a ridesharing service would be able to get him from Point-A to Point-B while accommodating his motorized wheelchair. He had his friend schedule the ride for him since he doesn’t have a smartphone. He allowed Need to Know to observe the experience which he also documented in this video diary utilizing a smartphone camera WXXI provided him. Check out his experience on this edition of Need to Know.

We’re now living in the midst of a ‘sharing economy.’ If you’re looking to lend, borrow, exchange or share there’s likely a service to meet your needs. However, one service, among others, is leaving some Stranded. That story on this edition of Need to Know.

Also on the show, the issues that matter most to more than 56 million Americans and what it will take to get them front and center in the political sphere.

Lending, borrowing, exchanging or sharing is now possible through the simple touch of a mobile phone app. But while the ‘sharing economy’ is benefitting some, you'll learn how it’s leaving others behind.

Also, the issues that matter most to more than 56-million Americans and what it will take to get them front-and-center in the political sphere.

Need to Know is Thursday night at 8 p.m. WXXI-TV.

Finding hope, healing, and freedom for women stuck in the trap of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. On this special edition of Need to Know, we examine the underbelly of this deadly cycle in our region. We also hear from those working in the trenches to empower women in communities throughout Rochester who feel lost and forgotten. And, a timely Call to Action for area political leaders the community-at-large.

Coming up on Need to Know, we’re peeling back the layers to uncover and understand the underbelly of trafficking, prostitution and addiction in our region. We’ll hear from women trapped in this deadly cycle and from area residents working in the trenches to help bring healing, hope and a “new” place to call home.

Do not miss this special edition of Need to Know as we re-examine trafficking in Rochester.

Tune in Thursday night at 8 on WXXI-TV.

Small Homes are being called “a new alternative to home care” and an effort to redefine nursing home culture. Think a family kitchen experience rather than served meals, elder decision making as opposed to top-down management calling all the shots, professional home-environment attire rather than medical scrubs just to name a few differences. A Small Homes project is currently underway at St. John’s here in Rochester. We recently stopped by to meet one of the elders and learn a little more about this new concept.

Navigating life after high school can be daunting for young people with disabilities and their families. It’s a moment that some refer to as a “cliff” and it’s a crucial transition in one’s life that WXXI is exploring through a new podcast. It’s called EXITED and it follows the lives of eight young people with disabilities growing up and trying to find their place in a world that so often labels them as being “different.” That story on this edition of Need to Know.

There are nearly 4 million public school teachers in our country. The majority of them, about 80 percent are white. That same number, 80 percent, also refers to the number of white principals in the US. And when it comes to superintendents, specifically in New York, about 97% are white. A WXXI news investigation titled Degrees of Diversity dug into some of these disparities and their impact, ultimately, on students. Now, some education leaders in New York are challenging their colleagues, themselves and their policies to combat what has been called “racist, sexist, classist organizations.”

With the most segregated public schools in the nation residing right here in New York, some education leaders are now saying “enough is enough.” Fixing the diversity gap in our school districts starting from the top, on this edition of Need to Know.

Also on the show, for some, life after high school means endless opportunities. For others, in particular those with disabilities, exiting the school system and entering the adult world can be a daunting process. A new WXXI podcast explores that journey for young people.

And we get a first look at how the concept of “small homes” is changing nursing home culture in Rochester.

“Who are your heroes and what do they do? Do they ever think about me or think about you?” And so begins a series of contemplative questions in a children’s book intended to help young people reimagine the concept of a hero. It’s aptly titled HEROES and it’s written by Rochester City School Board President Van White who explains “real” heroes aren’t the ones donning flashy capes. 

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