Steve Paulson was born in Rome, Italy, where his father worked with the United Nations. Paulson's family eventually settled in Milwaukee WI, where he remembers hanging out for “countless hours” on Milwaukee’s tennis courts, fantasizing about a Wimbledon showdown with Bjorn Borg or Jon McEnroe.
He won a high school championship, but a professional career remained a fantasy. Instead, he earned a degree in European Literature from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, then freelanced for Milwaukee newspapers and co-founded and edited Harambee Speaks, an inner city community newspaper.
By the early 1980s, Paulson had returned to college to earn a masters degree in journalism, specializing in covering arts and culture, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While there, he stumbled on community radio station WORT, where he volunteered and quickly “got hooked on doing interviews.” By the time he finished his masters, Paulson was hosting a current affairs talk show and producing and co-anchoring a half-hour program—not on the arts, but on news and current affairs.
Part-time reporting with Wisconsin Public Radio’s news department led to a full-time position as producer of Conversations with Margaret Andreasen and later, of the issue-oriented morning talk show Conversations with Tom Clark. Paulson also filled in as a substitute host and, for three years, did his own weekly interview program, aired Saturdays on Wisconsin Public Radio. He also continued reporting. Several of his features were broadcast nationally on NPR's All Things Considered and Pacifica News. He has won first-place awards from the Northwest Broadcast News Association and the Wisconsin Broadcasters’ Association.
Paulson was the assistant director of network talk at Wisconsin Public Radio for a year before joining the national production team of To the Best of Our Knowledge.
As an interviewer on To the Best of Our Knowledge, Paulson has specialized in covering environmental issues and popular culture. He’s especially fascinated by the stories of field biologists. “I find these people both inspiring and admirable,” he says, “because they manage to combine science with difficult conservation work.”
These days, Paulson still unwinds at the local tennis courts. Away from the courts, Paulson’s two children keep him on his toes.