On that station, he graduated to the Redskins beat a few days before Mike Shanahan’s first training camp. He attended all 81 games during Shanahan’s tenure, extending his streak of working every Redskins home game since 1999.

He slept on radio station floors, ran show boards, cut audio in newsrooms, worked more than a few 17-hour days, and went from asking players what flavor of ice cream they preferred to regularly breaking news, such as Trent Williams’ bar altercation before the 2013 Pro Bowl and countless roster moves.

After four years as a beat reporter, Paulsen will take the next step this week, becoming a studio host on 106.7 The Fan’s 10-2 midday show with Danny Rouhier. Despite everything Paulsen has accomplished since the fourth grade, this is his first job hosting a daily show.

Paulsen still wants to go to games and practices, and he’ll continue to rely on the numerous relationships he’s formed at Redskins Park. He doesn’t want to be a talking head who “doesn’t get out into the locker room and field and learn what they’re talking about.” And he hopes to persuade unfamiliar local listeners that he is more than just a Redskins fan.

He will continue to host at least two baseball shows per week on SiriusXM MLB Network Radio, attend Capitals games as both a media member and a paying customer, and closely follow every local team.

After his promotion was announced, Paulsen’s media peers – who describe him as the most well-liked reporter on the beat by both colleagues and players – showered him with praise.

“He’s going national by 30,” said Rick Snider, a longtime local columnist, on Twitter. “He will be one of the best ever,” Holden Kushner, Rouhier’s former co-host who still works at the station, wrote. Indeed, Paulsen has not wavered from his long-held ambition to become a national play-by-play announcer. In the meantime, he appears to have overcome any mid-career doubts.