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

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.

She’s one of the most memorable characters in television history. But it’s her real life story - a memoir-turned one-woman-show being performed here in Rochester that will you take you inside an intriguing, comedic, and jaw-dropping world filled with lots of confessions. Actress and author Alison Arngrim (a-k-a Nellie Oleson of Little House on the Prairie) joins this edition of Need to Know.

Also on the show, she’s a mezzo soprano to be reckoned with. We go behind-the-music with Jessica Ann Best, a local performer inspiring audiences around the country.

Weekdays for Rochester’s Marco Amadio are spent at his day job at Xerox. Evenings and weekends are spent serenading audiences. It’s hard to not stop and stare in awe when you hear the smooth vocals and effortlessly talented piano playing by the musician who can be found performing in piano bars and concert venues throughout our region. Amadio describes music as medicine and singing as his form of service to others. Amadio joins this edition of Need to Know to his musical journey.

Something happened starting in the 1950s that initially promised jobs and economic stimulation for US cities like Rochester. But these promises weren’t without their share of downsides. The “interstate boom” in the latter half of the 20th century had a dark side still being felt in cities today. Close-knit communities in some urban areas were divided, wounded, and in a number of cases, destroyed. Understanding how this happened, the local impact, and current efforts to fix the damage done is the focus of Reconnect Rochester’s upcoming RAZED\RISE event. On this edition of Need to Know we discuss pros and cons infrastructure projects of the past and lessons to be learned for the future.

Something as seemingly simple as a roadway through a city has the capacity to impact communities in ways one likely never imagined. On this edition of Need to Know we talk infrastructure, division, and the work to right past wrongs in Rochester and beyond.

Also on the show, he’s the epitome of a natural musical talent. We hear the story behind the music of local singer-songwriter Marco Amadio who uses music to connect with and serve others.

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