Thornhill school radio show launched celebrity PR career
Jan. 22, 2015
By Simone Joseph
Back when Zack Teperman was a Vaughan Secondary School student, he and a friend had a key to the school.
The reason behind this privilege: Their Thornhill high school’s radio show began at 6 or 7 a.m.
Teperman estimates the show had all of 10 listeners - “Garbage people, snow shovelers. We still did the whole show,” he said.
Today, Teperman, 27, is the president of a California-based PR firm called ZTPR (Zack Teperman Public Relations) promoting the careers of A-list celebrities.
His schedule is hectic, one might even call it punishing.
“I literally work all day, all night,” he says in a phone interview from California.
He often wakes up at 6 or 7 a.m. and is often out looking after clients - actresses from the TV show Glee, singer Chantal Kreviazuk, actor Martin Sheen, to name a few - at events or parties until 2 or 3 a.m. every night.
Business travel to conventions or other events is his time to rest.
“I try to sleep on the plane. It’s a go-go job and I love it,” he said.
Teperman was born and raised in Thornhill in the Dufferin Street and Clark Avenue area. He was part of an unofficial group that called itself The Breakfast Club.
Each morning, this group of students would check out local breakfast diners in Thornhill. They used to visit some places so often that they started receiving free food and discounts.
Many of Teperman’s favorite spots in Thornhill involve food. He used to enjoy eating at Midway (Restaurant & Tavern on Yonge Street, which is now closed) or grabbing a bagel from Kiva’s (Bagel Bakery), party sandwiches from Center Street Deli, a burger from Golden Star and playing hockey at Garnet A. Williams Community Centre.
He fondly remembers hanging out at the Promenade Shopping Centre and having to use a pay phone (gasp) to check in with his mom and dad throughout the day.
At 15, he was hired by Canadian sports station The Fan 590, which led to a broadcasting scholarship at Seneca College. Teperman ended up studying marketing and broadcasting there.
After graduation, he pursued his dream of being an on-air radio disc jockey, moving all over North America, from Miami to Yellowknife to Toronto, to work at such stations as the Fan 590, KISS 92.5 FM, z103.5, Y100 and Mix100.
While working at station Y100 FM in Miami, Teperman met Perez Hilton and was introduced to the world of celebrity gossip.
He earned the title of celebrity blogger after creating Canadian celebrity gossip site zacktaylor.ca in August of 2007.
“I got bored, and I started a Canadian celebrity blog like Perez’s,” Teperman says, naming his site after his radio handle, Zack Taylor.
Within five years, it was generating about a million views a month. Teperman was dubbed the “Canadian Perez Hilton”.
The site was bought in January 2008 by Hot or Not Inc. and Zack Taylor became its main blogger.
Teperman made a transition away from radio and blogging and instead began focusing on public relations in 2009, after he attended the Toronto International Film Festival and met Lexicon Public Relations president Steve Rohr.
Teperman became operations manager at Lexicon, an entertainment and lifestyle public relations agency.
Today, Teperman can boast an extensive list of clients from the entertainment industry. Clients with his current and previous company include: actresses Naya Rivera and Becca Tobin (from the TV show Glee), singer Chantal Kreviazuk, singer Taylor Hicks, actor Martin Sheen, as well as Josh Levi, a contestant on the TV show The X Factor.
He hopes to expand his PR agency further into Canada (particularly Vancouver) and also hopes to one day expand internationally, into the United Kingdom and Australia.
Though he has left Thornhill, it appears he can never totally leave his roots behind. He is engaged to a girl from Thornhill - Libby Gilbert - and still misses mentor and former teacher Punch Andrews.
Chris “Punch” Andrews was a former radio host at Mix 99.9 and a communications technology teacher at Vaughan Secondary School who’s since passed away.
“He really taught me a lot in the entertainment world and I probably wouldn’t be where I am today without his support and knowledge back in the day”.
Teperman’s website is ZTPR.net.