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

She’s been called “trailblazer,” “fearless leader,” and “staunch advocate for women’s issues.” And this week, Rochester remembers the life and influence of the late Congresswoman Louise Slaughter. In the process of reflecting on that legacy, comes another challenge, the idea of moving forward and determining who will fill the late Congresswoman’s seat and become her successor. Joining this edition of Need to Know to explain the next steps in this process is former Rochester Mayor and friend of Congresswoman Slaughter, Bill Johnson.

As Rochester celebrates the life of the late Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, the difficult question to ask is: “What’s next?” She left quite an impressive seat to fill. What filling that seat looks like on this edition of Need to Know.

There is outrage over a data scandal at Facebook. We’ll also discuss what you need to know about the big trade-off when you drink “the social media juice.”

A group of at-risk teens in Rochester say Shakespeare, yes, Shakespeare is helping them learn about choices and consequences. We’ll learn about a unique intervention to help avoid incarceration.

This week rock star Eddie Money launched the world premiere of his own musical in Rochester. It’s called “Two Tickets to Paradise: The Eddie Money Musical,” which features the famed “Money Man” himself. The star whose recording career spanned from the late ‘60s through the ‘80s recently stopped by the Need to Know studio. He explained why it was important to share his story - the good, the bad and the near-death – through the medium of a musical for all to see.

President Trump took to Twitter earlier this week to praise the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The new federal tax bill was signed into law in December of 2017. On Twitter this Sunday, the President said: “4.2 Million hard working americans have already received a large bonus and/or pay increase because of our recently passed tax cut & jobs bill....And it will only get better!”

If that’s the case, why is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo threatening to sue the federal government over the tax law? On this edition of Need to Know we’re examining the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the confusion around the new law, and what it means for New Yorkers.

It’s received praise by some and disdain by others. On this edition of Need to Know, we’re talking about the new federal tax bill and the key points you need to know about with tax season now in full swing.

Also on the show, he says his life is an open book and he wants you to know the full story. Rock star Eddie Money visits the WXXI Studios to discuss the purpose behind his new musical premiering this week in Rochester.

Coming up on the next Need to Know, if you're still confused about the new federal tax law, we're going to break down what it means for you. 

Then, we sit down with Eddie Money. His short-lived career in law enforcement led him to music, and a musical bearing his name is debuting in Rochester. 

Raul Ramirez describes himself as a DREAMer The University of Rochester student is pursuing a BA in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. He has dreams of eventually practicing family medicine for the LGBTQ community. But Ramirez has a more immediate dream - for Congress to pass legislation that allows undocumented young people, just like him, and their families, to stay in the United States without fear of deportation. Ramirez, founder of the group UR DREAMers, joins this edition of Need to Know to share his story.

Some say the issue of immigration reform has not only taken a nasty turn in Congress, but also in our society. One reason might be lack of understanding and confusion in terms of what’s going on and why.

Joining this edition of Need to Know to share their understanding and perspectives on the issue at hand is:

  • Wes Renfro - Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science and Legal Studies at St. John Fisher College
  • Jocelyn “Josh” Apo - A Haitian refugee now US Citizen who released an inspiring memoir in 2017 about his journey, “Gold from the Well”
  • Jim Morris - Associate Vice President for Family Services at Catholic Family Center

It’s been described as a fiscal showdown in Washington. Members of Congress have been up against the clock to pass a federal spending bill and avoid another government shutdown. So what’s the issue? There’s one matter of contention.

What you need to know about immigration reform according to dreamers, one of your Congressional representatives, a refugee-now-U.S. citizen, and more, on this edition of Need to Know.

At first glance they appear to be intimate, one-of-a-kind watercolor portraits. But when you read between the lines you see life stories of bravery, pain, hope, and resilience. Charmaine Wheatley is an artist-in-residence at the University of Rochester. For the past year she has focused a portion of her work on reducing stigma of those who live with mental illness. Her process was the subject of a short documentary titled: “Portraits of Life” by Epic 10 Films in association with the UR School of Medicine & Dentistry.

On this edition of Need to Know we learn how a project capturing candid conversations with watercolor help to reduce stigma and empower those living with mental illness.

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