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 death of 14-year-old Trevyan Rowe continues to haunt the Rochester community. It was on March 11th when the teen’s body was recovered from the Genesee River. Trevyan had autism.

When he got off the school bus on the morning of March 8th to attend the RCSD’s School 12, he apparently never entered the building and wandered away. As to how this could have happened, accusations ensue. But working to find ways to ensure it doesn’t happen again has driven the work of lead partners in the Golisano Autism Center. They have developed a new plan being implemented this summer to support families with autism in crisis situations.

The tragic death of a city teen is causing a community to rethink how it assists families with autism. On this edition of Need to Know we learn about the work to bring support and crisis services to those in need.

Also on the show, it’s known as one of the least diverse professions in our nation. We’ll hear about efforts to diversify the local legal field.

And from a distance, her pieces look like landscape paintings. Up close, something else jumps out at you. Don’t miss the work of artist Victoria Connors.

South Sudan celebrates their seventh year of independence, but with an ongoing civil war in the region is there anything to celebrate? This week on Need to Know, we talk about the triumphs in South Sudan you may have not heard about.

It’s not everyday that you hear a story similar to that of Pyar Mo. The young woman was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. At the age of 12 she was forced to flee her homeland with her family due to an ongoing civil war. Fast-forward seven years, she’s now the salutatorian of her graduating class and a filmmaker who documented her story of adversity and resilience in a film screening this summer at the Rochester Teen Film Festival. On this edition of Need to Know, Pyar Mor (joined by her digital media teacher, Laura Barstow) discusses her film Long Way Home, her story, and the work to support students facing insurmountable obstacles.

Re-energizing the indomitable Frederick Douglass. That’s what’s happening right now in our community in commemoration of the famed abolitionist’s bicentennial. Two hundred years after his birth, the work done by Douglass in Rochester, both the famous and the lesser-known, remains relevant. Reminders from Douglass that: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men” continue to challenge us in our schools, churches, and households. On this edition of Need to Know, what it means to celebrate this living legacy in Rochester.

His is a legacy unlike any other. On this edition of Need to Know, how famed writer, orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass continues to impact our society and why a community is working together to ensure that legacy lives on.

Also on the show, a story of adversity, resilience, and beating the odds. A recent high school graduate and filmmaker explains what it means to take the Long Way Home.

Need to Know recently launched a series looking into the unique, sometimes quirky, and other times mysterious double lives of people in our community. By “double lives” we’re referring to people pursuing careers they love, but also side hustles or passion projects that they say, helps them find purpose and meaning in life. On this edition of Need to Know we’re introducing you to firefighter and comedian, Santos Cruz.

Serving an underserved and under-resourced neighborhood through the arts. That’s the intention of a new theater that opened in June 2018 on Joseph Avenue in the City of Rochester. It’s called The Avenue Black Box Theatre. It’s being dubbed the first performing arts venue in the northeast quadrant. The theatre doesn’t intend to only serve, but to also transform a community one block at a time.  This edition of Need to Know explores how it will be done.

It’s a sport that originally went by the name “murderball.” As you probably figured out from that description, it’s a rough and tumble sport for those who love to push themselves to the limit and have a little fun. The competitive world of wheelchair rugby is flourishing in our region. But Chris Hilderbrant, the founder and manager of the Western New York league, The Wreckers, is on a mission to grow the team and diversify its roster.

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