Rugby veteran and radio host Willie Lose says he is disappointed he is being replaced by fellow broadcaster Tony Veitch.

Lose's bosses at The Radio Network told him yesterday that his slots on Newstalk ZB would be taken over by new programmes hosted by Veitch.

Lose, a former Tongan rugby captain and host of shows on Saturday afternoons and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, said he was gutted.

However, he was even more upset about the way the company had treated him - he was told the news only a few minutes before an announcement was released to the news media.


"I'm obviously really disappointed," Lose said. "I put my heart and soul into broadcasting after playing sports professionally. I had the dream job, basically.

"The worst thing for me, though, is I only found out it was Tony today. The boss basically rang and said, 'Look, I want you to know, before I release it, that these are the changes and this is what's happening.' So that was a shock more than anything else as well."

Lose said he was also upset he was not told why he was being moved aside.

"I approached the boss ... and he couldn't tell me the reasons why I was being replaced and that's the hardest pill to swallow. That's the worst thing. You can't bring closure.

"I explained to him [that] I want to be a better broadcaster - are there things I need to do to improve? He couldn't give me an answer ... basically said, 'You'll get angry.' I said, 'What?"'

Veitch's career hit the rocks when it was revealed he had physically abused a former partner in January 2006, putting her in hospital.

He is to host two new shows - Veitch on Saturday, from 12pm to 6pm, and Sport Power Hour, from 8am to 9am on Sundays. Sport Power Hour will replace veteran commentator Peter Montgomery's Sunday show.

Veitch will still host the Radio Sport breakfast show three days a week.

The Radio Network's general manager of talk programming, Dallas Gurney, yesterday said: "After a highly successful year hosting Radio Sport breakfast ... Tony has accepted the further challenge of hosting two of Newstalk ZB's flagship sport programmes."

Lose, a respected face in the Pacific community, said he also felt it was a bizarre move given he was the only person on the network who had played professional sport.

In a statement yesterday, The Radio Network said it had offered Lose "a new opportunity". However, he said it was a role that was far from what he would have wanted.

Veitch did not return calls from the Herald last night.