The crystallographic growth, magnetic properties, microstructure, and recording performance of CoCrPt–SiO2 perpendicular magnetic recording media on RuCoCr type of intermediate layers were systematically investigated. Excellent Co (00•2) crystallographic texture with dispersion Δθ50 as low as 3.2° could be obtained on the RuCoCr as the grain isolation layer, whereas the Δθ50 on the pure Ru grain isolation layer was 3.9°. Upon injecting oxygen into the RuCoCr layer via reactive sputtering and at high sputter pressures, grain center-to-center distance as small as 5.9 nm with a distribution of about 13% was achieved. The Δθ50 deteriorated on the RuCoCr-oxide type of intermediate layers, however, it remained comparable to that on the pure Ru layers. Signal-to-noise ratio also increased on the RuCoCr-oxide grain isolation layers due to the decreased grain sizes. The effectiveness of the RuCoCr-oxide type of intermediate layers toward grain size reduction and in improving the performance of perpendicular magnetic recording media is discussed.