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 origin of the opioid epidemic can be traced back to a number of causes including increased marketing of opioids by pharmaceutical companies and overprescribing by physicians, to name a few. Regardless of how it started, we are now in the middle of a public health crisis, affecting people of all races, cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, and ages. The last being the focus of this edition of Need to Know.

So often we hear about people between the ages of 18 to 25 or 35-years-old battling addiction. But the opioid epidemic has almost doubled for Americans over the age of 50. That’s according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Bringing this hidden problem into the light is one of the reasons Angela Lana of Irondequoit shared her story with us. Angela says addiction does not discriminate and that those dealing with this struggle are not junkies as they’re often labeled, but someone’s child, or someone’s husband, wife,  mother, or father.

People over the age of 50 in Monroe County are the fastest-growing age group for opioid-related deaths - up almost 400 percent between 2014 and 2017. That being said, why is geriatric addiction so often kept behind closed doors? What do we need to understand about this problem in an effort to help and meet the needs of our friends, family members, and loved ones battling this issue?

The opioid crisis in Monroe County continues to take lives, break families, damage dreams, and devastate communities. There are now 122 reported opioid deaths in the county this year, as of October 2018. Are we seeing improvements with this epidemic or are things getting worse? The answer depends on who you ask and the statistics you read. On this edition of Need to Know we join public broadcasting stations throughout the state for a special report: New York’s Opioid Crisis.

Fashion Week of Rochester 2018 kicked off last week showcasing the work and talent of local clothing designers. That “fashion week” concept, which is celebrated by cities around the globe, was first introduced by legendary fashion publicist the late Eleanor Lambert. Lambert is credited for putting American fashion on the global map. Renowned fashion historian, author, and lecturer, John A. Tiffany, beautifully captures Lambert’s story and legacy in his book Eleanor Lambert: Still Here. Tiffany stopped by Need to Know during a recent visit to Western New York to share Lambert’s story, give us a glimpse into his new work, and to explain the impact of clothing on our culture, our society, and our lives.

Images of protests and demonstrations from the contentious Supreme Court confirmation vote of Brett Kavanaugh can still be seen on just about every social media platform. But the photographs capture more than just moments in time - they also reveal a social movement in our nation that will likely go down in history.

Whose Streets? Our Streets! an exhibition now at RIT bears a familiar likeness to the types of imagery we’re seeing in the midst of our current political climate. This eye-opening exhibition features the work of a cohort of photographers who captured a myriad of social issues in New York City that led to marches, demonstrations, and protests in the late 20th Century and turn of the millennium.

So how does social documentary photography further democracy? That’s what the exhibit explores and what this edition of Need to Know examines with key figures involved in this unique display of work.

Capturing the struggle for social change in America from behind the lens. On this edition of Need to Know, we hear from the photographers dedicated to documenting social issues and activism in US history as we explore how social documentary photography can further democracy.

Also on the show, renowned fashion historian and author John A. Tiffany makes the case for the impact of clothing and dress on our society just in time for Rochester Fashion Week.

Rochester is remembering the life and legacy of a longtime philanthropist dedicated to energizing the community. Funeral services were held this week for the late Catherine Carlson who died on Thursday, September 27th at the age of 91. Carlson had a deep connection to Xerox founder Chester Carlson and his wife, Dorris. Together, the three financially supported several initiatives in our region focused on health care, education, civil rights, and public broadcasting, to name a few. Guests join this edition of Need to Know to reflect on Catherine’s contributions.

From ignored and forgotten to seen, appreciated, and understood.

That’s the transformation Richmond Futch, Jr. hopes will happen with his new exhibition. The revered Rochester artist will showcase his new work in a one night only event on October 26th. The exhibit is called: Out of the Shadows - Making the Invisible, Visible Through Art. The concept is to capture the spirit of our homeless culture in Rochester and to see those fighting poverty, addiction, and mental illness as people and nothing less than that.

A Rochester painter is putting the spotlight on our homeless culture to illustrate our common humanity. He’s doing it all through art. That story on this edition of Need to Know.

Also on the show, the impact and legacy of Rochester philanthropist Catherine Carlson.

We’ll also introduce you to some of the women leading the craft beer movement here the in Rochester region.

She’s been called an extraordinary talent - passionate, versatile, vibrant, and engaging. Mezzo soprano Jessica Ann Best may be Rochester-born and bred, but her musical gifts are celebrated nationwide. From New York City to Savannah, the local talent travels the country sharing her unique sound described as crossing operatic, musical theatre, and concert stage. This fall Best will be joining the group Velvet Caravan for a special musical performance at Nazareth College. She joins this edition of Need to Know to share more about the story behind the music and the artist.

Alison Arngrim played a character that millions of people around world hated. But the actress says her popular character, Nellie Oleson of Little House on the Prairie, was a girl she grew to love.  In her memoir turned one-woman show, Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, Arngrim says Nellie Oleson aided and protected her like no other creature, real or imagined. The much-loved actress is performing her one-woman show laced with comedy and confessions here in new york this week for the Rochester Fringe Festival. Before she hits the stage, she joins this edition of Need to Know to share more.

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