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He began his career as a reporter for The Big Breakfast, and in 2001 he started writing a music column for The Guardian. He became a reporter for Liquid News in September 2001, becoming a presenter in 2002, replacing 34-year-old Christopher Price who died of meningoencephalitis.
He is a stand-in presenter on BBC Radio 5 Live, having covered for Richard Bacon, Tony Livesey and Simon Mayo. His job title is entertainment correspondent for Radio 2 and Five Live. He is the main BBC radio correspondent for the Oscars and Glastonbury. Until January 2010 he was a regular pundit on the Radio 2 Arts Show with Claudia Winkleman. The pair first worked together as co-presenters on Liquid News.
In 2008 Paterson did an interview with Noel Gallagher in which he asked him to comment on Jay-Z being booked as a headline act for the Glastonbury festival. Gallagher replied saying that hip-hop was 'wrong' for Glastonbury. This resulted in much media controversy and Jay-Z hit back at Noel's comments by playing out Paterson's interview with the Oasis frontman before his headline set on the main stage at Glastonbury.
At the 2014 Oscars, Paterson was broadcasting live on Radio 4's Today programme when he spotted Bono walking past and shouted "BONO!" seven times in the manner of Alan Partridge. However, Bono did eventually come over to be interviewed.
- "New Hosts for Liquid News". BBC News. 28 July 2002.
- "BBC Radio 4 turns Alan Partridge for Oscars report". The Guardian. 3 March 2014.
- "Reporter accosts Bono at Oscars while live on air". BBC News. 3 March 2014.