Every once in awhile some company calls me and asks if I'm interested in a News Director opening. I always ask how they came to get my name and why they want to consider me. One person said, "Well, you've been a News Director before."
In other words, many companies and GMs don't want to go through the hassle of "teaching" someone the little nuances of running a newsroom.
Look no further than the NFL for an analogy. The Eagles just fired Andy Reid after fourteen seasons. No Super Bowl championships, worst clock manager in the league. Yet teams are lining up to hire him. You would think an owner would say, "Why should we get a guy who's never won after fourteen years? Why would we expect him to win here?" Yet someone will hire a recycled coach rather than take a chance on an assistant who's never held the position.
It's the same deal with News Directors. There are things you have to do as a manager that you never dreamed of when you were a reporter or photog. And most of them have nothing to do with the gathering of news. So it's easier for stations to hire people who have done it before, even though they may not have been successful at it.
I heard, "Welcome to the club" when I got my first management gig. I had no idea what that meant, but I do now. It's a club filled with people who know what it's like to deal with beancounters, newsroom head cases, office politics, and buying news cars. Again, none of that has to do with gathering news.
So if you're wondering why your station just hired someone who has bounced around the business for years, now you know.
It's the path of least resistance for a company and a GM.