Early radio transmitted Morse code over the air, not sound. Transmitting Morse Code was much less expensive than wired lines.
In the mid 1880’s Heinrich Hertz published the results of experiments proving an ability to transmit electromagnetic waves, later known as radio waves. His work was purely scientific.
Both Tesla, in the US, and Marconi, in Europe, worked to transform Hertz’s invention into a commercial innovation. Several other scientists also built on the work though none achieved commercialization.
In 1894, both Marconi and Tesla demonstrated workable radio. Both Marconi and Tesla are credited with the invention of radio. The US awarded a patent to Tesla; the British awarded a patent, for the same innovation, to Marconi.
Historians believe that Marconi did, in hindsight, invent radio first but the US awarded patents and recognition to Tesla to keep the technology in the US.
Marconi went on to build an extremely successful business. Marconi’s company survived, after many acquisitions, until 2005 when it went defunct as a result of the dot-com crash.