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Question about transmitting

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I bought a cheap low power FM transmitter(one of those little dongle thingys from China) a long time ago and it has been sitting in the junk drawer for years now. I recently got a microcontroller, and was fiddling with the microcontroller, transmitter, and a regular fm radio receiver. My goal was to send a continuous tone out from the microcontroller into the transmitter and take the radio farther and farther away from the transmitter until I could no longer hear the tone, to figure out what kind of range I was getting.

Anyway, when I was wiring the transmitter to the microcontroller, the microcontroller had power and as a result was actively running the code to produce the continuous tone, but I had wired the ground wire from the transmitter to the microcontroller first without connecting the signal wire yet and the static on the radio stopped... The question is - What is going on here? Why does hooking the transmitter to only ground override the static the radio is picking up and give a silent transmission? I would have hypothesized that the transmitter wouldn't transmit until I had hooked up the signal wire as well.
 
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