The present invention provides a magnetic recording media incorporating Zn containing layers in close proximity to a magnetic layer to provide media having increased coercivity and lower noise. The Zn containing layer can be incorporated in a rotating, translating or stationary recording media to operate in conjunction with magnetic transducing heads for recording and reading of magnetic data, as well as other applications. The magnetic recording medium of the invention preferably includes a Co or Co alloy film magnetic layer, underlayer structures to promote epitaxial crystalline structure in the magnetic layer, and a Zn containing layer to promote isolation between the magnetic grains. The medium can further include seed layers, underlayers, intermediate layers, and overlayers. The process of manufacture includes promoting diffusion of Zn to the magnetic layer grain boundaries.