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KUTV Channel 2 is replacing its news director and preparing for the on-air return of popular consumer affairs reporter Bill Gephardt.

Current news director Steve Hertzke will be stepping down next week and will be replaced by Jen Dahl, who at one time was KUTV's assistant news director, said KUTV General Manager Steve Carlston. She begins Thursday.

Most recently, Dahl was head of news operations for the Tribune Co. and Cincinnati-based Local TV, the broadcast arm for financial equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners. Local TV owns and operates Utah Fox affiliate KSTU Channel 13.

Meanwhile, Hertzke is staying with KUTV and will be Gephardt's new producer and head of special news projects.

Carlston wouldn't comment on the changes except to say that Hertzke is happy to go back to his roots as a journalist.

"He's one of the great storytellers and news writers, and he's going to have a great opportunity to tell stories," Carlston said. "He's a journalist, first and foremost, and that's what he likes doing."

Meanwhile, Gephardt will return to KUTV Sept. 13 after a long summer vacation since the end of May. He hosts the popular news segment "Get Gephardt," in which he investigates consumer fraud.

Gephardt decided to take the vacation while the station searched for a new producer for his show. His former producer, who also is his son, decided to work for KTVX Channel 4 earlier this year.

Vince Horiuchi