Need to Know

Thursday 8:00 p.m. & Sunday 11:30 a.m. on WXXI-TV & on City 12

Watch Need to Know with host & producer Hélène Biandudi Hofer Thursdays at 8pm on WXXI-TV, Channel 21.1 and Cable 11 or 1221.

Rochester Housing Authority


On the evening of September 26th a waiting list for a program that helps low income residents pay for housing will close. So what’s the real impact of this program known as Section 8? On this edition of Need to Know we look into the myths and misconceptions of Section 8 and much more.

Also on the show, a voter registration drive in Rochester is bringing together entertainers, businesses and community leaders. We’ll learn why they’re focused on mobilizing the millennial vote.

And we look at the transition from bark to works of art. A local woodworker and artist shows us how she transforms nature into creative works intended to bring joy.

East High School | University of Rochester

You could call it the most watched school in Rochester. East High School is kicking off year two in its collaboration with the University of Rochester. On this edition of Need to Know we learn what’s in store for this new school year as this innovative intervention continues to unfold.

Also on the show, photonics is now in Rochester and eventually the jobs promised will be here too. We’ll tell you how local schools are preparing their students to cash in on the booming industry.

And in the midst of continued turmoil and unrest in South Sudan, hope springs forth. How the Rochester-South Sudan partnership is bringing new opportunities to the youth of Mayan-Abun.

SSR Photography

Researchers have discovered an interesting link between the economy and kids. On this edition of Need to Know we talk with an economist who explains how a particular investment by Rochester businesses could have a widespread positive impact on children.

Also on the show...Bronson and Barnhart. The major take-aways after the debate between the local Democratic Assembly candidates running in the Primary for the 138th District.

And a local filmmaker shows how paint and an artist’s vision can be a powerful combination. We’ll learn about a locally-born project that’s changing neighborhoods, empowering teens, and making Rochester a bit brighter.

Rochester Community Inclusive Rowing

The Wall Street Journal has called it “the least likely star to emerge from ‘House of Cards.’” It’s the water rowing machine! It is credited, in part, for what’s been described as a surge of interest in the sport of rowing. But this sport, which can be traced back to ancient Egypt, isn’t just for Hollywood dramas, college athletes or Olympic hopefuls. For one Rochester group rowing is about inclusion, connecting with the community and healing. And forget about the water rower - they’re getting veterans and individuals with disabilities out on the water to experience the power of rowing. This Need to Know segment explores the work of Rochester Community Inclusive Rowing.

Some argue that documentary films are far more powerful than people may realize. It’s been said that these non-fiction films have the ability to engage, challenge and even inspire people to action. But how are non-fiction films bringing measurable change to our society? And how have documentaries enlightened our community? On this segment of Need to Know, Rochester filmmakers discuss the power of social justice documentaries.

Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People

It’s a rather simple equation.  Soul + Groove = Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People. The local group has performed throughout Europe and around the US winning over audiences and the “Best Local Band” award from the 2015 Roc Awards.

But the meaning behind the songs written by Rochester native and vocalist for the band, Danielle Ponder, are anything but simple and surface-level. It was the online music source SoulSource that called Ponder’s vocals a combination of “the spirit of the church with the speak-truth-to-power assertiveness of a movement leader.”

On this segment of Need to Know Danielle Ponder shares more about her story, her band and the influence of her work as a public defender on her music.


Polls find that most Americans want a president with strong religious beliefs. But to what degree does religion play a role in how voters vote, the key issues and talking points in a presidential election and who wins the title of the next president of the United States? In what’s being called “one of the most polarizing election years,” we’re examining how religion could influence the 2016 presidential election.

Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People

Mixing religion and politics can be a bit taboo, but religious issues can impact decisions in the voting booth.  On this edition of Need to Know, we discuss the relationship between religion and politics in this year’s presidential election.

Also on the show, she’s a public defender by day and a soul singer by night. How Danielle Ponder is combining her law career and her powerhouse voice to  empower, inspire and even create change.

Rochester filmmakers talk advocacy and social justice through documentaries. On this edition of Need to Know we’ll discuss how non-fiction films are impacting society in ways some may not realize. And a number of these documentaries  are being led by members of the Rochester community.

Also on the show, some are calling it “The House of Cards Effect.” The sport of rowing seems to be all the rage right now. But there’s a local rowing club taking the sport from trend to treatment for things such as PTSD among other disabilities.

And we’ll take you inside a Rochester gallery where everybody has a chance to become a selling artist. Hear the story behind a 6x6 square inch phenomenon.